Deficits, balanced budgets and the world of sports …….LOL,LOL !!

Deficits, balanced budgets and the world of sports …….LOL,LOL !!

Well, having seen his party (Democratic Party) decimated in the midterm elections , Barack Obama in his second term of what will likely be recorded in history as a lame-duck Presidency , will set about with his own strategy for the final two years of his tenure. His administration along with the Congress have failed the electorate miserably , with partisan politics and the constant bickering being the sole achievement of both legislative chambers of the Congress during that time. The President’s foreign policy remains a constant joke, with John Kerry providing about as much insight and confidence in the country’s stance, as a blind man walking a tightrope , one-hundred feet above the ground without any formal aid. Granted, there is said to be light at the end of the tunnel, with the economy said to taking positive traction , unemployment declining, but with so few high-end jobs being created, it is hard to suggest where there have been major positive signs the country is back on track and on an even keel.

The country’s debt-crisis remains unresolved, the raising of the debt-ceiling solves nothing of any note, in facilitating a balanced budget. Barack Obama will be giving his sixth State of the Union Address of his Presidency on Tuesday evening and I doubt he will provide us with anything new in terms of a domestic or foreign policy !

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In the world of sports , this past weekend provided us with several surprising results within the NFL and the NBA . Superbowl 49 (SBXLIV) will provide us with the two teams seeking to become this season’s Superbowl champion. The Seattle Seahawks will be looking to make a successful defense of the championship they won with such ease in 2013. Their opponents will be the New England Patriots , in many circles the franchise has been viewed as the best team of this past decade, having made six appearances in the Superbowl since 2002. Seattle got by the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game with a come from behind victory that will become an instant classic.

Aaron Rodgers and the Packers fell short of their aim, having with the game within their grasp, only to let things slip out of their hands, as Russell Wilson regained his composure leading his team to a well-deserved victory. Now as the world awaits the league’s postseason finale, fans continue debate where, when and why things went so horribly wrong for the visiting team in Seattle, Washington this past Sunday.

The AFC Championship Game pitted Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts against the New England Patriots . Clearly, seen as the underdogs, the Colts were riding on the arm of a young quarterback who has shown a great deal of growth and maturity over the course of this season. However, a great deal was being asked Andrew Luck in this game, as he was seeking his first professional victory against the Patriots. No easy task, when you consider in four previous tries the 2012 NFL top-draft pick, has never been able steer the team past their conference rivals. What unfolded in this contest was a prime example why the postseason can be such a misnomer . No could have guessed that Indianapolis would be on the wrong side of a lopsided 45-7 loss , the biggest postseason victory in Patriots’ history and most certainly the largest margin of defeat ever inflicted on the Colts during their postseason forays. The ensuing story coming out of this all, have been claims that the New England Patriots knowingly deflated the game balls to give themselves an advantage over the Colts. Spy-gate and now Deflate-Gate ? What will they think of next ? Furthermore, would it not be in the best interests of the NFL to have the game officials inspect the game balls being used for a game prior to kick-off ? Just my way of thinking, rather than another asinine notion and claims of cheating within a sport where sportsmanship at times has been something of a rarity.

With fans now having to wait two weeks before the “Big Game ” , the NFL will serve up their customary postseason staple of the Pro Bowl Game, where the two opposing captains are Hall of Fame wide receivers Cris Carter and Michael Irvin. Imagine that, Team Carter versus Team Irvin in a meaningless contest ? Where the incentives are not so much a competitive game, but merely players actually turning up, because they know the financial inducement has been laid out in their contracts apart, from the perceived notion, fans actually care about this game. NFL fans have shown about as much interest in this event, as they would in a political debate between two tongue-tied Congressmen unsure how best to put across eloquently their political views on array of subjects.

The NBA this season has been rife with competency on so many levels . Phil Jackson is still cutting his teeth as NBA executive and it simply doesn’t pain to me to say this, all of the awe and shine surrounding Jackson’s accomplishments as a coach , are now the only things, that do not place his legacy beyond doubt. In his first season Head of Basketball Operations for the New York Knicks his decision-making has come into question and it clearly has shown with the team’s play and exceedingly poor results.

Knicks’ head coach Derek Fisher and his coaching staff were just able to steer the team to their first win after a sixteen-game losing streak . While the victory against the New Orleans Pelicans might well provide the New York Knicks with some respite , it clearly points to a bigger picture and issues concerning the very fact Derek Fisher was the wrong choice to be the head coach of this team. Experience was clearly needed , rather than this idiocy of Fisher being brought in to impart Phil Jackson’s coaching philosophy and the use of the ‘ The Triangle ‘ . When you have a roster whose Basketball IQ might be considered among the worst in the NBA, there can no clear use of the scheme and its effectiveness under the Knicks’ current guise .

Quick fixes or not, with the trade deadline on the horizon, Phil Jackson and GM Steve Mills will certainly have to make some changes to the roster, even if it is meant to provide the franchise with some much-needed cap relief . If the Knicks are to play themselves into either divisional or conference contention , then the front office will have to consider further changes beyond those already made . Next up for the New York Knicks will be a road game against the Philadelphia 76ers in a contest to be played at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on the 21st January , 2015. What better way to decide which of these two Eastern Conference franchises might just be one of the worst teams in the entire NBA ?

There is no denying the league (NBA) remains a profitable concern for the franchise owners around the league. The Los Angeles Clippers was purchased for a record sum of $2 billion , with the price paid by billionaire, Steve Ballmer, hardly making a dent in his reputed $22 billion fortune. Ballmer has been welcomed by his fellow owners and the league hierarchy with open arms. For his part , the first order of business for the new owner , was to issue an emphatic statement of his wish to see the franchise become one of the most popular and highly visible teams within the league as well as striving to bring an NBA title title to the city of Los Angeles , and not having to play “second fiddle ” to their co-tenants at the Staples Center, in Los Angeles, California , the Los Angeles Lakers . With the Lakers having such a torrid time in the league and seemingly as a loss , in how to go about winning on the road or at home , it has been left to the Clippers to the lead the way and be the “standard bearer” for the city of Los Angeles this season within the NBA .

With both of the Los Angeles’ franchises taking to the court on Monday night and having differing results , it must be said, the change in fortunes for both of these teams, is now said to be having a drastic effect on how one looks at the Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers. Doc Rivers is proving to be an inspirational coach, motivating his players to get the job done, whereas , the struggles for Byron Scott and the Lakers have been well-chronicled over the course of this season. Undoubtedly, injuries have played a part in how both teams have fared , but cannot be continually be used as an excuse for poor play , especially where it concerns the the Los Angeles Lakers.

Kobe Bryant and his teammates coming off a fifteen-point loss (115-100) to the Phoenix Suns must now be wondering , where do they now go from here. The veteran guard hopes to return to the franchise next season , but at what price to the organization ? Now in the last year of his two-year , $48.5 million deal, I am not inclined to believe he would be willing to give the Lakers a hometown discount entering into the 2015-16 season. Other than in baseball, I am not so sure you can find more players earning in excess of $20 million annually , while showing paltry production for their respective teams , than within the NBA . Granted, the NFL also has a number of players earning considerably more , but a great deal of that comes down the structuring of the contracts of an NFL athlete.

The Los Angeles Clippers summarily dismissed the Boston Celtics in a home victory , with the win being all-round effort from the Clippers’ players , in their most recent contest. While I believe the Los Angeles Clippers to be one of the teams to be watched over the remainder of the season in what is proving to be an extremely competitive Western Conference . It remains to be seen, whether or not Doc Rivers’ players can prove themselves worthy of being considered a legitimate contender within the conference as well as for the NBA title.

” Long Live the Beard” and if you are unsure to who I am referring to, then simply look at the statistics of James Harden . I am not about to suggest he is the sole reason for the Houston Rockets’ success this season , but his contributions cannot be overlooked. Kevin McHale and the members of the Rockets’ coaching staff have to be extremely happy with what they have witnessed from the team over the course their schedule at this point of the year .

I firmly believe Harden is now one of the elite players in the the NBA , since his acquisition by the Houston Rockets as a free agent. He has done more than enough to justify my belief in his abilities ! Dwight Howard is now riding on the coat-tails of his teammate and it has to be said, the three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year is now Robin to the James Harden persona of Batman . Houston’s record of 29-12 places them as the fourth seed within the Western Conference , but second place within the Southwest Division , a mere half-game behind the Memphis Grizzlies (29-13).

Kevin McHale’s team are 7-3 in their last ten games games and it bodes well, as they head into a match-up against the high-flying Golden State Warriors , when the two teams face off </ on Wednesday 21st January, 2015 at the Oracle Arena in Oakland , California,. The match-up of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson against James Harden and Dwight Howard should prove to be more than intriguing, as two of the NBA’s most explosive offenses meet in this showdown.

Defending NBA champions the San Antonio Spurs may well have started off their season slowly, but the return of Finals’ MVP , Kawhi Leonard has been more than welcomed by Gregg Popovich and his coaching staff. Leonard’s addition to the lineup after missing several games due to injury has re-energized the team .

Five NBA titles and seventeen successive seasons in the NBA Playoffs doesn’t seemed to have quenched the franchise’s appetite for success. Add in the fact they currently have three future Hall of Fame candidates on the current roster and you can well understand why the Spurs are considered on of the few NBA dynasties to have truly reigned supreme during their era . Elder statesmen Tim Duncan , Manu Giniobli and Tony Parker have formed one of the most successful trios in league, combining together to have notched up collectively, over five-hundred (500) regular season wins , along with a slew of individual regular and postseason awards . Gregg Popovich for his part , with his distinguished coaching career, is one of a handful of coaches with more than three NBA coaching titles to his name , along with what must be considered a slight of only three NBA Coach of The Year Awards . Begs the question, in the years the San Antonio Spurs did not possess the best record in the NBA , which coach was said to be actually a noteworthy recipient ?

Currently, sitting as the seventh seed in the Western Conference, were the NBA season to end today , the San Antonio Spurs would have a first round draw against the Portland Trailblazers , who presently hold a 2-1 regular season series’ lead over the Spurs. On a current eight-game winning streak, San Antonio must make greater inroads into the divisional lead of the Memphis Grizzlies , whose three-game margin is not too great a deficit for the defending champions to make up over the coming weeks. A three-point victory over the Denver Nuggets was clearly a step in the right direction . A nationally televised match-up against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center, in Chicago , Illinois, on Thursday night will provide the San Antonio Spurs with a chance to gauge themselves against one of the better performing teams within the Eastern Conference.

Of the ten highest paid players now playing in the NBA only LeBron James figures high enough in each of the main statistical categories, which tends to determine the best player in the the league (NBA). As a four-time winner of the League MVP , it could be said James is having something of an indifferent season with the Cleveland Cavaliers . Granted, he leads the team in the customary statistical categories, but in of-itself , that might not be enough why it is in some circles many believe Cleveland have been definitely under-achieving this season and it has been reflected in their record . Team owner Dan Gilbert’s decision to give the go-head for GM David Griffin to hire rookie head coach David Blatt, can either be see as naivete’ on the part of the front office or sheer bravado, in wanting to make a big splash. James’ return should have been enough to signal the organization was indeed serious in making a serious challenge to win their first NBA title.

Alongside Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love , Anderson Varejao , Lebron James and the supporting crew , there should have been enough pieces in place for this team to be far more competitive. Two games over .500 and you can well understand why the Cavaliers have struggled this season . Two upcoming home games against the Utah Jazz and Charlotte Hornets on the 21st and 23rd of January should tell us a great deal more about the Cleveland Cavaliers and the direction they are said to be heading in .

Hype can mean nothing and in some circles it can mean a great deal , yet in the NBA, more is placed sensationalizing a player and team , rather than more often that not the substance of their achievements? How else can one explain the catastrophic seasons of the Brooklyn Nets , New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers Philadelphia 76ers, Minnesota Timberwolves and the Utah Jazz ?

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Picture gallery .

During the NFL postseason which results , do you believe were of the biggest surprise and which team will ultimately prevail in the Superbowl ? Your thoughts on this and anything else you feel to be pertinent to the subject matter are more than welcome .

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Picture and slideshow gallery.

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(1) President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015, in Washington, as Vice President Joe Biden applauds and House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, listens. This was the President’s sixth State of the Union Speech during his tenure. AP Photo/Mandel Ngan, Pool

(2) Head coach Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson (3) of the Seattle Seahawks celebrate after the Seahawks 28-22 victory in overtime against the Green Bay Packers during the 2015 NFC Championship game at CenturyLink Field on January 18, 2015 in Seattle, Washington. Tom Pennington / Getty Images North America

(3) Russell Wilson (3) of the Seattle Seahawks celebrates as Letroy Guion (98) of the Green Bay Packers is in anguish after Wilson threw a game winning touchdown pass in overtime of the 2015 NFC Championship game at CenturyLink Field on January 18, 2015 in Seattle, Washington. Getty Images / Ronald Martinez

(4) New England Patriots’ owner , Robert Kraft celebrates with Tom Brady (12) after defeating the Indianapolis Colts in the 2015 AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium on January 18, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The Patriots defeated the Colts 45-7 .

(5) Tom Brady(12) of the New England Patriots and Andrew Luck (12) of the Indianapolis Colts shake hands after the 2015 AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium on January 18, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The Patriots defeated the Colts 45-7 . Getty Images / Maddie Meyer

(6) Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks takes a shot against the New Orleans Pelicans on January 19, 2015 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.Getty Imagres / Nathaniel S Butler

(7) Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers handles the ball against the Boston Celtics on January 19, 2015 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles. NBAE/ Getty Images / Andrew D Bernstein .

(8) LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers smiles during the game against the Chicago Bulls on January 19, 2015 at The Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. Gregory Shamus / Getty Images

(9) HOUSTON, TX – JANUARY 19 : James Harden (13) of the Houston Rockets before the game against the Indiana Pacers on January 19, 2015 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.NBAE/ Getty Images / Bill Baptiste

(10) Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs handles the ball against the Utah Jazz at the AT&T Center on January 18, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas. Getty Images / D Clarke Evans
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Out with the old , in with the new …

Out with the old, in with the new …

In a none too surprising and rather climactic weekend in the NFL in the divisional round of the postseason, we may well have seen a changing of the guard. Losses were suffered by teams thought to be favored to make it to their respective conference championships games . The Denver Broncos inexplicably fell to the Indianapolis Colts , where Andrew Luck has not only has eradicated the name ” Manning” from the lips of the fans in Indianapolis, but he may well have now placed himself above his predecessor in terms of the fans’ appreciation of his craft and the fact he has now had more initial success with the franchise in his first three years than Peyton Manning actually achieved. The 2012 number one overall draft pick has led the Colts to the postseason in each of his first three season whereas , Manning had to wait until his fourth season in 2002 , before he would have his first taste of postseason play that year .

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The disappointment of this postseason for the Denver Broncos will not be lost on John Fox , his coaching staff and John Elway , Head of Football Operations for the franchise. Having spent millions of dollars to load up on a defense which included a slew of Pro-Bowl caliber players such as Vonn Miller , DeMarcus Ware and Aqib Talib , the wheels on the Broncos’ bus completely fell off with Peyton Manning having what some might deem to be a disastrous outing against his former team. As to what this loss might suggest about the Denver Broncos , may well be seen from differing points of view , with claims Manning actually played injured or as suggested the four-time League MVP had over the last six games of the regular season had seen a decline in his play leading into the postseason. Make of it what you will , but there are now growing signs that the Peyton Manning of old is no longer here. Signs were clearly seen in last season’s Superbowl and the complete annihilation suffered by the Broncos in their lopsided loss (43-8) to the Seattle Seahawks .

John Elway will now be left with several decisions to be made concerning the makeup of the roster during the off-season and which of the players are or should be retained . Peyton Manning has already stated he would like to play at least one more season with the Broncos, looking to fulfill his quest for a second Superbowl title. Yet it is now my belief, the window of opportunity for this esteemed veteran is now firmly closed ! This year should have been the best opportunity for Manning to make his way to a second successive Superbowl but it was not to be , as the Indianapolis Colts waylaid the best laid plants of the Broncos by clinically besting the home team in-front of their highly raucous fans. Mile-High Stadium became something of a burial ground as the death knell was sounded on Denver’s postseason aspirations.

As the Denver Broncos’ season fell apart , the growing stature of Andrew Luck cannot be denied, as he has now placed himself among the elite quarterbacks now playing in the NFL. Colts’ owner, Jim Irsay in a recent interview stated the timing was right for the departure of Peyton Manning, and that it was time for a change, for the franchise. Many felt it impudent and a rash decision to send Manning into the wilderness, but the choice has proven to be fortuitous for the franchise, with it, the success of Luck and several of the younger players on the roster. Who would have guessed that T. Y . Hilton would now be considered one of the best offensive threats on the team which still has Reggie Wayne active and productive for the Colts ?

If there is said to be a flaw on the Indianapolis Colts , then it would certainly have to the defense of the team and the inconsistency shown over the course of the season . If they are to prevail further then they most certainly will have to raise level of the play within the secondary. Andrew Luck and his teammates may not view it as a gathering storm, but their meeting in the AFC Championship Game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium , Foxboro’, Massachusetts, on Sunday evening in prime-time should prove to be a thoroughly entertaining match-up . Luck has yet to have a win in the regular or postseason against the Patriots, having gone 0-3 in their meetings during in his career.

Bill Belichick and his coaching staff will certainly have to prepare for this contest against an Indianapolis Colts’ team looking to upend their hosts on Sunday afternoon. New England’s quarterback Tom Brady after his now legendary contests against Peyton Manning and the Colts has a new adversary in Andrew Luck who will not be looking to take any prisoners in what will be the most important game of the young quarterback’s career to date. Though I do not believe a Colts’ win would come as a shock, because I believe the Patriots have proven to be very complacent at the most inopportune of moments, but as long as Tom Brady can work his miracles during the postseason , then I am entirely happy that he and his teammates will come away with a victory and make their third Superbowl appearance in the last decade and the franchise’s sixth consecutive playoff appearance since 2009.

America’s Team the amiable and affable Dallas Cowboys, having made the postseason for the first time since 2009 brushed aside the Detroit Lions in the wildcard round with the utmost ease and it was felt, that finally , Tony Romo was in fact surrounded with a team capable of making a deep playoff run. Unfortunately, Jason Garrett as a head coach, has proven to something of an incompetent oaf in many of his game-time and playing strategies, so often the Cowboys’ downfall during the regular season . Now granted, while the Cowboys were t 8-0 on the road and 8-4 within conference, they were simply mediocre at best at home (4-4) , with a defense which was far from compelling or convincing. DeMarco Murrray and Dez Bryant may well have had career years, but beyond that, there was nothing to suggest the Dallas Cowboys would indeed pose a serious threat to either the Green Bay Packers or Seattle Seahawks , long considered the two best teams in the NFC , in spite of the surprising season by the Arizona Cardinals .

Dallas came into their divisional round contest at the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field in Green Bay , Wisconsin, looking to derail Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers’ well-rounded season . Rodgers for his part, has been playing at an extraordinary level and might just be considered the consensus favorite for this season’s League MVP alongside Andrew Luck and that is with due respect to the play of JJ Watt this season for the Houston Texans , but to my mind Watt is more deserving of the Defensive Player of the Year Award , than he is of the league’s most prestigious individual regular season award !

The Cowboys jumped out to an early lead but you simply had the impression the Packers were not about to let their guests off the hook lightly . While there may well have been a great deal of controversy surrounding Dez Bryant’s catch and his possession of the ball in the end-zone , you simply cannot fault the officials concerning the call and the legality of the play. Jason Garrett’s players had several other chances to put this game away beyond the reach of the Packers , but they simply forsook the opportunities that came their away , allowing Green Bay back into the contest, closing out the match-up with the win and their appearance in the NFC championship game against the Seattle Seahawks.

Jerry Jones will now spend the off-season mulling over what might have been, the makeup of the roster and what possible changes are likely to be made. From my own standpoint , I simply do not believe Tony Romo possesses the mindset to lead the Dallas Cowboys to a Superbowl victory, neither does he show any signs of leadership on the field of play. If there is said to be no vocal leader leader on the team to actually lead by example, how hell does anyone expect that team to win ?The Cowboys’ failure will be looked upon with some reservations , but let us not overlook the fact this team while great during the regular season, they simply showed that during the playoffs, there were simply ordinary with no real appetite to play hard or any real competitiveness during the postseason.

Mediocrity took on a new face during the regular season as teams within the NFC South offered up little to get the fans truly vested in the division. Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints were made to look extremely mundane and it would be fair to suggest the quartet of teams had defenses which ranked among the lower rungs of the NFC and the league as a whole. Division winners the Carolina Panthers got by the Arizona Cardinals with considerable ease, with their being never truly challenged by their conference rivals in their wildcard round contest .

Panthers’ head coach Ron Rivera may well have prepared his team for the Cardinals, but in their divisional round game , neither Cam Newton and his teammates seem prepared to take on the Seattle Seahawks at QWest Field in Seattle , Washington this past weekend. Seattle’s 31-17 dismantling of the Panthers was a clear indication as to what happens when you have an overwhelmed team simply being in a contest where they have no right to be , much less showing the wherewithal to be competitive in the game. The margin of victory for the Seahawks could have been far greater than the two-touchdown differential might have suggested.

If there were any doubts as to how good Russell Wilson just happens to be, you simply have to look at the players’ playoff record (5-1) , the impressive statistics gathered by the three-year quarterback from the now highly impressive 2012 NFL Quarterback Draft Class from that year . Wilson and the Seahawks will play host to the Green Bay Packers in the NFC championship gameon Saturday 18th January, 2015, with the winner going on to be the conference representative in 29orperbuoer Superbowl 49 (SB XLIX) to be staged on 1st February , 2015 at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona ,. This contest will likely provide us with the favorite for the Superbowl in the match-up against the winner of the AFC title game between the Indianapolis Colts and the New England Patriots .

Quarterbacks may well come and go , and the life-span of an elite quarterback in the NFL averages at least eight to ten-years. So it might suggest, that the likes of Tom Brady , Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger have proven to be, not necessarily exceptions to the rule, but one undoubtedly one has to take into account the level of consistency maintained by the players in question and the success attained within this league. The brave new face of the NFL , with the torch being passed to the next generation, I believe has began in earnest with the likes of Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson coming to the fore and into their own, as the next chapter of quarterbacks taking centerstage. Your thoughts if any, on that premise ?

Before Superbowl 49 takes to the stage , once again the idiocy of the Pro Bowl will have its day in the sun. After the nonsense of last season , I have to question the NFL’s insistence on staging this annual and uncompetitve farce ? The players are simply there not to compete , with many of them simply turning up, because of the incentives likely laid out in their contracts . Other than that, this season’s spectacle which pits Team Irvin against Team Carter , will have Hall of Fame wide receivers Michael Irvin and Cris Carter selecting their rosters for this annual game which remains meaningless and simply idiotic on so many levels

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Picture gallery.

With the NFL postseason now entering the closing stages, which teams or players have you been most impressed by ? Also with the likelihood of the passing of the torch, now evidently taking place among the league’s top passers, do you believe any of the quarterbacks drafted from classes of 2012, 2013 or 2014 can emulate the success of the likes of Brady , Brees , Manning or Rodgers in the upcoming years ? By all means simply leave a comment as you see fit on this and anything else you believe relevant to the subject matter .

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(1) Andrew Luck (12) of the Indianapolis Colts leaves the field after defeating the Denver Broncos 24-13 in a 2015 AFC Divisional Playoff game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on January 11, 2015 in Denver, Colorado. Getty Images/ Ezra Shaw ….

(2) Andrew Luck (12) of the Indianapolis Colts meets Peyton Manning (18) of the Denver Broncos following a 2015 AFC Divisional Playoff game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on January 11, 2015 in Denver, Colorado.The Colts defeated the Broncos 24-13. . Getty Images /Doug Pensinger ..

(3) Andrew Luck (12) and Dan Herron (36) of the Indianapolis Colts have a word before a play against the Denver Broncos during a 2015 AFC Divisional Playoff game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on January 11, 2015 in Denver, Colorado. Getty Images / Ezra Shaw …

(4) Aug 29 s, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos head coach John Fox and vice president of football operations John Elway (left) in the fourth quarter against the Arizona Cardinals at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Cardinals won 32-24. There now seems to be mounting speculation as to whether or not Fox will be returning to the Broncos for the 2015 season , but it seems more than certain , several players currently on the roster will likely be cut during this off-season . Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

(5) Tom Brady (12) of the New England Patriots jogs off the field following the 2015 AFC Divisional Playoffs game against the Baltimore Ravens at Gillette Stadium on January 10, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. …

(6) Tom Brady (12) of the New England Patriots directs at the line of scrimmage during the first quarter of the 2014 AFC Divisional Playoffs game against the Baltimore Ravens at Gillette Stadium on January 10, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Getty Images/ Jared Wickerham …

(7) Aaron Rodgers (12) of the Green Bay Packers shakes the hand of the Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett after the Packers win the 2015 NFC Divisional Playoff game 26-21 at Lambeau Field on January 11, 2015 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. . Getty Images Mike McGinnis ….

(8) Tony Romo (9) of the Dallas Cowboys congratulates Aaron Rodgers (12) of the Green Bay Packers after the 2015 NFC Divisional Playoff game at Lambeau Field on January 11, 2015 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Cowboys 26-21 . Rob Carr /Getty Images …

(9) Cam Newton (1) of the Carolina Panthers throws a pass in the second half against the Seattle Seahawks during the 2015 NFC Divisional Playoff game at CenturyLink Field on January 10, 2015 in Seattle, Washington. Getty Images / Johnathan Ferrey ….

(10) Russell Wilson (3) of the Seattle Seahawks looks to throw a pass in the first quarter against the Carolina Panthers during the 2015 NFC Divisional Playoff game at CenturyLink Field on January 10, 2015 in Seattle, Washington. Getty Images / Otto Gruel Jr …

(11) Former Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Cris Carter , left, talks with Thursday Night Football analyst Michael Irvin , right, before an NFL football game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Washington Redskins, Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013, in Minneapolis. The two players former players and current Hall of Fame inductees will be the opposing team captains for 2015 NFL Probowl . AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt

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From left to right , Andrew Luck , Robert Griffin III, Brandon Weeden , Ryan Tannehill and Russell Wilson . All five were members of the 2012 NFL Draft class , now considered one of the best groups of quarterbacks’ classes to have been drafted over the past twenty years , thought I do have my doubts as to where this particular class would measure up against to the class of 1983 !

In The Military We Just Love To Blow Sh#t Up ! In The NFL It’s Simply The Norm …….. So What’s New ?

In The Military We Just Love To Blow Sh#t Up ! In The NFL It’s Simply The Norm …….. So What’s New ?

By tophatal ….

Either he was cajoled or he’s simply looking to avert the gaze and attention away from New Orleans Saints …. organization . Somehow GM Mickey Loomis and head coach Sean Payton probably at the behest of team owner Tom Benson have sought to allay the fears of their most ardent fans in light of the allegations now fomenting within the NFL as to the program initiated by the team’s former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams . As an assistant coach with the team from 2008-11 , Williams serving under Sean Payton had a bounty that was used a financial incentive for defensive players on the Saints’ roster . This situation has now come to the fore with the NFL hierarchy conducting an investigation into the actions of Williams , while an assistant not only with the New Orleans but also while serving in the same capacity with the Washington Redskins under then head coach Joe Gibbs .

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If there’s any veracity to these claims , albeit that Saints’ defensive player .Darren Sharper has denied any culpability or wrongdoing by himself and his teammates during the period that these alleged incidents took place . Should this be proven , based upon any statements or concrete evidence that is uncovered through this investigation then the ramifications for the Saints could be very serious . However, much of this will be predicated upon whether or not NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell shows that he is indeed prepared to punish the Saints and in particular Gregg Williams for his actions. A monetary fine , suspension and forfeiture of future NFL Draft picks could very well cause irreparable damage to the image of Saints as an organization . Even with the joint statement and public apology to the fans and organization alike and with the duo of Loomis and Payton acknowledging that the franchise’s owner was unaware of the of the general manager and coach acted in unison with their former defensive coordinator , in enacting this rather dubious and distasteful act .

Can someone explain to me what would we now be discussing had one the league’s elite quarterback been incapacitated by one of these stupid acts ? With the apparent bounties said to be as high as $10,000 for taking out an offensive player be it a quarterback , wide receiver or running back . My question is , what the f#ck were Payton and Williams thinking to begin with ? Did it not occur to either the possible serious ramifications that their actions and decisions might have ?

Goodell , if he’s to prove that as the league’s highest ranking executive that he has a tight rein on the league that he has now been the custodian of since assuming the role as commissioner from Paul Tagliabue . I’ve never been totally convinced that the incumbent was the right man for the job in succeeding Tagliabue ! Roger Goodell is a mindless dimwit who was completely bamboozled by the NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith and the union’s executive committee during the deliberations in the renegotiating of CBA (collective bargaining agreement) . Were it not for Robert Kraft and senior union negotiating representative Jeff Saturday of the Indianapolis Colts I seriously doubt that there would have been some semblance of peace within the NFL as it currently stands ! Goodell and Smith jointly, may well be obtaining all of the praise but in all honesty does anyone believe that Roger Goodell was actually smart enough to deal with a former federal litigator for the US Justice Department as well as being a corporate attorney with noted DC law firm Patton Boggs LLC ? Simply put , DeMaurice Smith out-smarted his NFL counterpart in so many ways that it simply doesn’t bear thinking about !

Goodell either has to show he has some credibility or actually none at all . And at this juncture I’m inclined to believe that the commissioner hasn’t actually got a frigging backbone ! Anyone who can prove me to the contrary , then please let them do so succinctly ?

Now the big news of the day within the NFL is the fact that the Indianapolis Colts and their storied quarterback Peyton Manning have parted ways . After fourteen years with the same franchise when he was drafted by the Colts as the number one overall draft pick in the 1998 NFL Draft . It has now all come down to this , with the decision no doubt being made by Colts’ owner Jim Irsay in conjunction with GM Ryan Grigson made the this choice rather than having to pay the roster bonus of $28 million due on the 8th March , 2012. The consensus now appears to be that the Colts will take Stanford Cardinals’ quarterback Andrew Luck in the upcoming NFL Draft in April , 2012.

As one chapter ends , so another begins , as Manning now becomes an unrestricted free agent and perhaps the most sought after free agent quarterback that will be available this off-season . And now the scurrying begins for the teams now said to be in need of a quarterback . Let’s just now say that there will be more than a handful of teams now chasing after the services of Peyton Manning . Tom Condon as the player’s agent will no doubt pursue the most feasible and best possible destination for his client . Care to suggest where the quarterback may well end up ? Manning as one of the most productive quarterbacks in the NFL over the past decade will obviously want to play for a credible contender within the NFL . I’d say that this juncture , of the 32 NFL teams in the league perhaps there are four who are at least satisfied with their incumbent quarterback . So that would leave the remaining 28 franchises at least vying for the player’s skill-set . If you’re Woody Johnson , Mike Holmgren , Jerry Jones , Stanley Kroenke , Jeff Ireland , : Dan Snyder and Paul Allen are you quite possibly willing to pursue Peyton Manning ? Hell yeah ! I bet either of the aforementioned front office executives would give up their first-born , perhaps and donate the organ of a family member as a willing sacrifice , just to have Manning don their team’s uniform for a season ! Who wouldn’t be ?
Only a moron would seek not to do so !

” We love to blow s#it up ” . So someone please explain to me how it is that the Spanos family haven’t blown out A J Smith and Norv Turner as the general manager and head coach of the San Diego Chargers ? Did I miss something ? As this team simply stumbled out of the gate and simply pissed away the opportunity to be dominant within the AFC West and in my honest opinion the weakest division in the entire NFL !

Now with Philip Rivers having something of a down year by even his own lofty standards . But herein lies the caveat , if Rivers and this team were said to be inept then what does that say about Norv Turner and his entire coaching staff ? Far be it for me to suggest that a group of chimpanzees could have performed better in the roles as coaching and assistant coaching staff in such a premise but as a betting man I’d go with the damn chimps ! Because Turner has shown me f#ck all as a coach since he became the head coach of this franchise !.

With free agents …. Stephen Cooper , Luis Castillo , Patrick Crayton , Na’il Diggs , Jared Gaither , Antonio Garay , Steve Gregory , Nick Hardwick , Tommy Harris , Jacob Hester , Bob Sanders and Mike Tolbert and it appears that the Chargers apart from seeking cap space may well seek to build through the draft . Lord have mercy upon the souls of the Chargers’ fans with one more damn season of Norv Turner being in charge with a do-fuss such as A J Smith ! The infamous duo , have now become the Laurel & Hardy of the NFL and they sure as hell have made me laugh over the years , as to the positions that they hold within the Chargers’ organization ! That’s another skit to put to rest , in terms of the comedy of ” errors” that was on display with the San Diego Chargers in 2011 . Care to think why they won’t be anymore , in the 2012-13 season ? This organization’s window closed long ago and anyone who now believes to the contrary must be self medicating on Propofol or the opiates that may well be found in Whitney Houston’s system . ‘nough said on the matter I do believe !

If the Chargers have a real issue then it would have to be on both sides of the ball specifically their defense and their pass offense . As good as the receiving corp of the Chargers is said to be it became abundantly clear that the productivity sought simply wasn’t there. And with the organization also not seeking to “franchise tag” the wide receiver Vincent Jackson and thereby seeking cap relief .

With Norv Turner being retained by the Chargers in what many believe was a surprising decision by the front office . I have to admit that I was extremely surprised by this choice ! Much of this came down to the fact with the Denver Broncos’ surprising win of the AFC West , albeit with a sub-standard record . But then again when fans were simply in awe of the season had by the team’s quarterback Tim Tebow it goes to the issue as to how weak the division just happened to be and the lack of real quality of the teams within the AFC West ! Whether or not the problems with the Chargers has to do with the choices made in terms of their draft picks over the years or the jettisoning of players whom they thought to be no longer capable of playing for the organization . Then clearly the blame for the apparent mishaps lay squarely on the shoulders of A J Smith and Norv Turner , jointly ! Were Darren Sproles and LaDainian Tomlinson really past their prime ? Apparently not , but then again what do I know ?

As of now what the future truly holds for the San Diego Chargers who really knows ? But clearly the window of opportunity has closed for this organization and the task of rebuilding for the future has to start now rather than later . In my honest opinion, I firmly believe that this upcoming season will be Philip Rivers’ last with the organization as it now must come down to the ambition of the player and whether or not he’s viewed as this era’s version of Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino . Financially secure in some respects , I bet Rivers would give up half of his salary to be even within a whisker of raising the Lombardi Trophy as a triumphant Superbowl champion , on a championship caliber team ! The Chargers have never had that luxury and given the optimism of their long-suffering fans I am not so sure that they ever will . Definitely not with Norv Turner , in his current role as the head coach of this team working in conjunction with GM A J Smith .

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(1) Seen from left to right are Mickey Loomis , general manager of the New Orleans Saints alongside the team’s former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams and head coach Sean Payton . Williams has publicly apologized for his actions in the scandal that has now embroiled the franchise as well as the Washington Redskins. Loomis and Payton , jointly have issued a public statement and apology of their own taking sole responsibility for the actions of Gregg Williams . With there now being harsh calls for severe punishment to be brought against the franchise as well Williams we now await a decision from the NFL hierarchy headed by Roger Goodell. Several owners are said to be angered by the actions of Williams and the Saints’ franchise. It remains to be seen what actions will possibly taken by Rams whose employment Williams is now in. With his reputation now tarnished it’s hard to envisage how St Louis Rams can continue to retain his services . AP Photo / Chris Cousins ……..

(2) Drew Brees (9) of the New Orleans Saints celebrates with team owner Tom Benson after defeating the Chicago Bears 30-13 at the Louisiana Superdome on September 18, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Getty Images North America /Chris Graythern ……

(3) ” I love you man ” ! Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay, front, hugs quarterback Peyton Manning after announcing that the NFL football team will release Manning during a news conference in Indianapolis, Wednesday, March 7, 2012. AP Photo/Michael Conroy …

(4) Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay, right, listens as quarterback Peyton Manning speaks during a news conference in Indianapolis, Wednesday, March 7, 2012. Manning’s record-breaking run as a quarterback for the Colts ended Wednesday, when Irsay announced the team would release its best player. AP Photo/Michael Conroy ….

(5) Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano , right, and general manager Ryan Grigson listen as quarterback Peyton Manning speaks about being released by the team during a news conference in Indianapolis, Wednesday, March 7, 2012. AP Photo/AJ Mast …. ……

(6) San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers talks about lineman Kris Dielman , rear, during a news conference in which Dielman announced his retirement from NFL football, Thursday, March 1, 2012 in San Diego. AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi ……….

(7) Phillip Rivers (17) of the San Diego Chargers looks away after arguing with Norv Turner during the game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on November 20, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. Scott Boehm/ Getty Images ……..

(8) Wide receiver …. Vincent Jackson (83) of the San Diego Chargers carries the ball on a 59 yard pass play in the second quarter against the Seattle Seahawks on August 25, 2008 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California, setting up a Chargers touchdown. …..

(9) San Diego Chargers’ head coach Norv Turner and GM A J Smith are seen here assessing roster personnel at the team’s training facility . AP Photo / Brett Thompson …

(10) It’s not quite who’s in charge of the lunatic asylum now known as the San Diego Chargers . But do take time to your own choice . From left to right , team President & COO Dean Spanos , head coach Norv Turner and general manager A J Smith . AFP/ Cullen Williams
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Dr Dre ….. feat’g Kurupt , Nate Dogg & Six Two …………. “Xxplosive ”

Swimming With Sharks ……………

Swimming With Sharks

By tophatal ……

Well it would appear that the NFL coaching carousel has now reached unimaginable heights of ridicule with the latest victim being Indianapolis Colts’ coach Jim Caldwell who was summarily fired by Colts’ owner Jim Irsay . With the Irsay having already made the decision to jettison former team president Bill Polian and his son Chris Polian , two former executives within the organization . Now as we all know the team had its worst season in the NFL finishing at the bottom of the AFC South and they did in fact bear the worst record in the league , posting a 2-14 mark.

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FILE – In this Dec. 11, 2011, file photo, Indianapolis Colts head coach Jim Caldwell, left, speaks with injured quarterback Peyton Manning before an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens in Baltimore. The Colts fired Caldwell on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012. Caldwell just finished his third and worst season as head coach of the Colts, who stumbled to a 2-14 finish without Manning. AP Photo/Gail Burton …

And though the Indianapolis Colts shared the same record with the St Louis Rams by virtue of better conference record it will be the Colts who will have the privilege of taking the first pick in the upcoming 2012 NFL Draft . The consensus appears to be that the front office will stake Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck number one overall. Now the firing of Jim Caldwell has struck me by surprise as I felt that he was not the problem concerning the woes of this team throughout the course of the season ! The loss of Peyton Manning prior to the start of the season was one of the many issues that faced the team . But herein likes the real issue the team acquiring Kerry Collins and then with aged veteran performing poorly it was left to backups Curtis Painter and Dan Orlovsky to steer this team over its schedule. Suffice to say , that all three were a shadow of what Manning on his worst day would appear to be .

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Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay, left, speaks during a news conference as general manager Ryan Grigson listens at the NFL football team’s headquarters Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012, in Indianapolis. The Colts announced the firing of coach Jim Caldwell. AP Photo/Darron Cummings

Jim Caldwell and his coaching staff tried their level best to get this team to play with any amount of resolve and zeal that it might possess. And the team’s cause certainly wasn’t helped with the very fact that their secondary was amongst the worst performing in the league and the offense lacked real penetration. From my own perspective the firing of Caldwell along with what now appears to be the ever-growing uncertainty as to the immediate future of four-time league MVP Peyton Manning . The player is owed a $28 million roster bonus that is due by 8th March 2012 . Manning will of course have to prove his fitness but at the same time should the team choose to cut the player they are still liable for a great part of his salary due for 2012. The 96 million five year contract signed by the player in conjunction with input provided by his agent Tom Condon says a great deal about the willingness of the front office to secure the player to long term future with the organization. But it would now appear that Jim Irsay in light of the mea-culpa by Bill Polian, now looks to rid himself of the last remnants of Polian and it might now include the quarterback that his guided the franchise to a great deal of success over the past decade . One should note , that prior to his being drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in 1997 , success for the organization was rarely seen and there were scant rewards for the fans.

In the fifteen years that Manning has been with the franchise he has simply rewritten the franchise’s record books as well as number of NFL records along the way as a quarterback.

Now any search that is said to be taking place that will no doubt be overseen by Polian’s successor will have to be done with a great deal of expediency . Granted , the postseason prohibits any approach to the coaching staffs of the teams still involved in NFL playoffs . So for now teams such as Baltimore Ravens , New England Patriots , New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers their coaching staffs remain off-limits until the culmination of the postseason on 5th February , the night of the Superbowl (SBXLVI).

Names that will no doubt be a matter of conjecture and speculation as it relates to this particular vacancy will doubt have the likes of Jon Gruden , Bill Cowher , Mike Sherman and perhaps Brian Billick interested . The Indianapolis Colts know that if they are to make a prudent choice that it would have to be a coach with name recognition and some who can be a lure to potential free agents . One can either view this decision as a monumental mistake by Jim Irsay or simply a situation where the owner felt it best to clean house . Given the sheer and utter irrationality of the firing of Hue Jackson by the Oakland Raiders’ front office led by team owner Mark Davis and the team’s newly installed GM Reggie McKenzie , it begs the question are the NFL coaches now swimming in shark infested waters , wherein the team owners are liable apportion blame elsewhere for the misjudgment made themselves and that of their general managers ?

It should come as no surprise that former Tennessee Titans’ coach Jeff Fisher is back amongst the coaching ranks of the NFL , with him having accepted the position to coach the St Louis Rams . Team owner Stanley Kroenke made the announcement public and it will now be left to Fisher along with his new coaching staff to assess the merits of the team as they move forward. Jeff Fisher succeeds Steve Spagnuolo whose three years at the helm of the Rams the team’s former coach guided them to a 10-38 record , a meager return over that period of time .

Fisher may well have more to work with in terms of the talent on hand with the St Louis Rams with 2009 top draft pick …… Sam Bradford at the quarterback position. Apart from Bradford the team also can call upon the talents of running back Stephen Jackson who seemed to have re-found the form that made him one of the most potent running backs in the NFL . Granted , this season we have seen the rise of Ray Rice and LeSean McCoy and Maurice Jones-Drew simply lighting up the NFL this season with their prowess.

The biggest issue facing Jeff Fisher may well his concerns the health of Sam Bradford with the player having recurring injuries throughout much of the St Louis Rams’ season along with a concussion which obviously has to be a major concern for the front office of the Rams and the league hierarchy as a whole , given the misplaced stupidity shown by the Cleveland Browns and their dealing with the same issue concerning the team’s quarterback Colt McCoy . I will continue to maintain that something that borders on being the incapacity of player such as one of the league’s major quarterbacks before they will actually do something proactive concerning the treatment of players suffering a concussion during a game . So ridiculous has the situation now become that they now see fit to have only a physical trainer up in the booths where adjudicating officials preside over calls that are not cleared by the sideline officials. One would have thought will the millions of dollars spent on team salaries the very least that could be done by the NFL is to have a neurosurgeon on hand up in the booth , rather than a mere physical trainer who may not be able be truly cognizant of the game time effects of a concussion on a player at the time.

Added to this whole charade by the NFL hierarchy has been the very fact that there has been clear evidence that points to the cause and effect of blunt head force trauma caused by repeated helmet to helmet hits during a game . Punitive fines to players certainly hasn’t deterred the actions of a number of players . What is even more asinine is that the players themselves are not too clear as to what is said to be legal in terms of a legitimate or illegitimate hit . It has been this sort of lack communicative skill from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell , who to my mind at times is simply posturing to the owners , rather than doing what it is the best interest of the game and the safety of the players. Never mind the fact that the players’ own representative the NFLPA led by DeMaurice Smith has truly done little over the years to abate this glaring crisis within their midst . Instead , both Goodell and Smith have spoon fed the public a great deal of fecal matter for their consumption and unfortunately the fans have actually bought into the feces being shoveled their way !

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

With the NFL postseason now in hand what thoughts if any do you have concerning the firing of Jim Caldwell ? And are the Indianapolis Colts capable of resurrecting their fortunes without Peyton Manning at the helm as the team’s quarterback ? By all means do take time to leave a comment on this topic and anything else you feel to be pertinent to the subject matter .

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(1) Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay , left, speaks during a news conference as general manager Ryan Grigson listens at the NFL football team’s headquarters Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012, in Indianapolis. The Colts announced the firing of coach Jim Caldwell. AP Photo/Darron Cummings ….

(2) Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay, left, speaks during a news conference as general manager Ryan Grigson listens at the NFL football team’s headquarters Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012, in Indianapolis. The Colts announced the firing of coach Jim Caldwell. AP Photo/Darron Cummings …..

(3) INDIANAPOLIS, IN – FILE: Jim Caldwell the Head Coach of the Indianapolis Colts watches the game action in the Colts 17-3 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars at Lucas Oil Stadium on November 13, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. It was reported that the Indianapolis Colts have fired coach Jim Caldwell who was 2-14 this season, 2 weeks after firing vice chairman Bill Polian. Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images …..

(4) FILE – In this Dec. 11, 2011, file photo, Indianapolis Colts head coach Jim Caldwell, left, speaks with injured quarterback Peyton Manning before an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens in Baltimore. The Colts fired Caldwell on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012. Caldwell just finished his third and worst season as head coach of the Colts, who stumbled to a 2-14 finish without Manning. AP Photo/Gail Burton …

(5) Jon Gruden could the former Bucaaneer’ coach and present ESPN NFL analyst be atop of the list of candidates that the Colts’ front office will seek out to gauge his interest in their vacant head coaching position ? Courtesy of US Presswire ……

(6) St. Louis Rams’ team owner Stan Kroenke speaks during a news conference where Jeff Fisher was officially introduced as the new head football coach of the St. Louis Rams NFL team, in St. Louis, Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2012. AP Photo/Tom Gannam ….

(7) St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford and teammate James Laurinitis watch a news conference where Jeff Fisher was officially introduced as the new head football coach of the St. Louis Rams NFL team, in St. Louis, Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2012. AP Photo/Tom Gannam ……

(8) EARTH CITY, MO – JANUARY 17: (L TO R) St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke, new head coach Jeff Fisher and Executive Vice President of Football Operations & Chief Operating Officer Kevin Demoff take questions from the media during a press conference at the Russell Training Center on January 17, 2012 in Earth City, Missouri. Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images ………

(9) Cleveland Browns general manager Tom Heckert , left, talks with team president Mike Holmgren during practice at the NFL football team’s training camp in Berea, Ohio. After a tumultuous 4-12 season and at the start of a critical off-season, Holmgren and Heckert have to decide who will be their quarterback and what else they can do to fix the Browns. AP Photo/Tony Dejak ………

(10) FILE _ In this Oct. 23, 2011 file photo, Cleveland Browns head coach Pat Shurmur , left, talks with quarterback Colt McCoy during the second quarter in an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks in Cleveland. After going 4-12 in his first season as Cleveland’s coach, Shurmur said McCoy improved in his first full year but would not commit to the 25-year-old as his starter for 2012. AP Photo/Amy Sancetta …….

(11) Colt McCoy (12) of the Cleveland Browns lies on the ground while speaking to athletic trainers after a helmet to helmet hit from James Harrison (92) of the Pittsburgh Steelers during the game on December 8, 2011 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images ……..

(12) Colt McCoy (12 ) of the Cleveland Browns lies injured after being hit by James Harrison (92) (not pictured ) of the Pittsburgh Steelers during the game on December 8, 2011 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Steelers won 14-3 . Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images ….
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You Pay You Get What You Deserve ……… !

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You Pay , You Get What You Deserve

By tophatal

Isn’t it funny how one momentarily blip and one patron believes that that game four of the World Series was a ratings’ bonanza for the Fox Network . In reality that may well have been true but bear in mind ratings for the game’s postseason finale has been on the decline for the last eight years. On Sunday night when Albert Pujols was putting on a show with his heroics with a magnificent performance . The player joined a select band of players in having hit three home runs in a game . That select band includes Hall of Famers Babe Ruth (twice) and Reggie Jackson .

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The Nielsens’ ratings have suggested that anything above a 12.5 share (14.2 million viewers) would create that anomaly that the series has been seen an upswing . MLB simply doesn’t know how to market its own damn brand but yet fans are that naive to think that because one game brings about some excitement , it necessitates everyone into believing that thinking that baseball is actually back. While the game was going on at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington Texas , we had on NBC the New Orleans Saints laying a can of whup ass on the lowly Indianapolis Colts . The end result was a 62-7 was annihilation of Jim Caldwell’s players. Personally , at this juncture I would surmise that the Colts’ season for all sense and purpose has now ended and about the only thing that this team has to play for is their self respect and pride . Sadly , this all came about with the loss of Peyton Manning at the start of the season with a re-occurrence of his neck injury and with the player having to undergo a second invasive procedure the likelihood of a return this season now seems all the more improbable.

From my own perspective I would like to think that the Indianapolis Colts’ front office have been oblivious to the future of this franchise or GM Bill Polian may well have felt that he could ride Manning into the next decade. Unfortunately the team now sits at the bottom of the AFC South and there seems to be no clear indication as when they will be able to lift themselves out of their rut. There has been the suggestion that the Colts have played several of their opponents very close this season , and that has certainly been the case but when the franchise comes of on the wrong end of a result repeatedly , you simply get the feeling that there is now no confidence on this roster . It certainly isn’t happening amongst the veterans on this team , such as Robert Mathis , Jeff Saturday and Reggie Wayne . And the young up and coming stars such as Pierre Garcon and can only pray that Peyton Manning makes a quick return to the league but that now appears to be highly unlikely.

Now while this lopsided game was meant to be entertaining for the viewers on NBC as part of their Sunday night schedule , I have to ask myself what was it about this game that the broadcast outlet thought would be entertaining ? Surely given the fact that the Indianapolis Colts had yet to win a game and the very fact the play of Curtis Painter and Kerry Collins have shown that they are clearly not the answer for the team’s woes . From an defensive and offensive standpoint this team has struggled in every facet of its game . And although Jim Caldwell and his coaching staff have struggled strategically in getting the Colts playing at a high level of consistency .

The talk now is of the Indianapolis Colts being amongst the teams seeking to draft Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck . And the way that things are now going it is by no means a certainty that the Colts are likely to the the team having the privilege of taking what is said to be the consensus overall number one pick in the 2012 NFL Draft . Also playing their way into ineptitude and mediocrity are the Miami Dolphins (0-6) , St Louis Rams (0-6) and the slew of one loss teams such as the Arizona Cardinals (1-5) , Minnesota Vikings (1-6) and the Jacksonville Jaguars (1-5). As such we can now discount the Jaguars as the organization is now set on their starting incumbent Blaine Gabbert . Coach Jack Del Rio obviously hopes that Gabbert’s play over the course of this season can place a stay of execution on his status as a coach with the organization .

My own thoughts on Del Rio as a coach, are that his days are numbered but somehow either through the naivete or stupidity of GM Gene Smith and team owner Wayne Weaver they allowed Jack Del Rio to remain as the head coach of the team . It was somewhat unfortunate that last night to witness the Jaguars in an a game (12-7) against the Baltimore Ravens that can be best described as a monstrous spectacle that gives NFL a bad name ! Seven weeks into the schedule and a number of teams are playing as if their their season had just begun yesterday . I’ll preface this by saying, that this NFL work stoppage has to my mind made NFL calendar somewhat of a joke ! Injuries asides , there is no way in hell had the lockout been avoided I seriously doubt that the brand of football we have seen this thus far would be this awful ! Doubt my word ? Then simply look at the results over the the season so far and then look at the team and player statistics ?

If game five of the World Series was meant to be pivotal then with the Texas Rangers proving to be victorious in taking down the St Louis Cardinals 4-2 . Game’s six and seven , should one be needed will determine the outcome of this series but inasmuch as the Texas Rangers now appear to be in the driver’s seat having taken a 3-2 lead , it would be foolish to overlook the St Louis Cardinals .

Tony La Russa’s team will host the Texas Rangers at Busch Stadium , in St Louis , Missouri ,. If Pujols was said to be the hero of game four then the Rangers’ Mike Napoli most certainly was the answer that the Ron Washington had been looking for in game five . The tide may well have turned but as I alluded to earlier you would be foolish to discount the chances of the Cardinals at this juncture . The St Louis Cardinals have been one of the very best teams at home over the course of the regular season . The Texas Rangers would be ill advised to simply think that their NL opponents will not fight until their very last breath to erase the deficit and come back to win this series outright. But for now it would appear that Ron Washington’s players are in the driving seat as they seek their first World Series title.

For Texas Rangers’ president Nolan Ryan , the team’s general manager Jon Daniels , Ryan’s partners , the coaching staff and the entire organization as a whole this has been a long an arduous journey . And while one has to acknowledge the contributions of former team executive Chuck Greenberg , prior to his departure , it has been the fervent will of Ryan and his belief in Ron Washington that has seemingly brought about much of the team’s success over the past few seasons .

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Whatever the events are, of tonight , I have to admit that I have found this World Series thrilling but would I say it has been suspenseful or awe inspiring ? Probably not ! As to the NFL schedule > this past weekend , well let’s just say that there were one or two games that I believe that the NFL Network and their broadcast partners wished that they had rather not televised . Monday night’s debacle (12-7) between the Jacksonville Jaguars and Baltimore Ravens left a great deal to be desired . And that Cleveland Browns and Seattle Seahawks’ game (6-3) , how is it that there’s not some sort of formal apology from either franchise for serving up such bulls_it ? I know that the Indianapolis Colts are aching and they miss Peyton Manning sorely but when you simply lay down (62-7) like a whimpering dog that has been mistreated there’s no way in hell that I for one can feel any compassion for such a team ! My thoughts , simply my thoughts ! What are your feelings with regard to the plethora of games served up by the NFL over the weekend and also with regard to the series between the St Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers ? Simply chime in with a comment as you deem fit .

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Picture and slide show details .

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(1) La Russa fu_cks up ! ET phone home . In this photo taken Monday, Oct. 24, 2011, the visiting team’s dugout phone to the bullpen is shown after Game 5 of baseball’s World Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers in Arlington, Texas. Cardinals manager Tony La Russa is taking full responsibility for the bullpen phone mix-up that dearly cost the Cardinals Monday night. The Rangers won 4-2 and took a 3-2 edge in the Series. AP Photo/Jamie Aron ….

(2 Texas Rangers starting pitcher Colby Lewis speaks during a news conference Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2011, in St. Louis. The Texas Rangers are scheduled to play the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 6 of baseball’s World Series Wednesday in St. Louis. AP Photo/Jeff Roberson ….

(3) Manager Tony La Russa talks to the media ahead of Game 6 of the 2011 MLB World Series between the Texas Rangers and the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on October 25, 2011 in St Louis, Missouri. Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images…

(4) Neftali Feliz (80) of the Texas Rangers pitches in the ninth inning during Game Five of the MLB World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on October 24, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. The Rangers won 4-2 . AP Photo by Ronald Martin …

(5) Marcedes Lewis (89) of the Jacksonville Jaguars attempts to run past Jameel McClain (53) of the Baltimore Ravens during the game at EverBank Field on October 24, 2011 in Jacksonville, Florida. Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images ….

(6) New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham (80) celebrates his touchdown reception in front of Indianapolis Colts strong safety David Caldwell (30) during the third quarter of an NFL football game at the Superdome in New Orleans, Sunday, Oct. 23, 2011. The Saints would end up defeating the Colts 62-7 . AP Photo/Bill Feig ….

(7) Quarterback Colt McCoy (12) of the Cleveland Browns tries to scramble in the pocket before being sacked during the first quarter against the Seattle Seahawks at Cleveland Browns Stadium on October 23, 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio. Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images …

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MLB news

2011 World Series schedule & includes results Texas Rangers leads the series 3-2 against the St Louis Cardinals

St Louis Cardinals news

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Texas Rangers — @ — St Louis Cardinals , Busch Stadium , St Louis , Missouri ,.

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Colby Lewis (Tex) vs Jaime Garcia (Cardinals)

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Probable starters game seven

Matt Harrison (Tex) vs TBD

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Hot chick pic of the day …………….. Mallory Dylan

The Luck Of The Irish …………

The Luck Of The Irish …………

Granted week 5 of the NFL season comes about and there seems to the considered belief that a number of teams now simply struggling to stay alive . Four winless franchises and as pitiful as these performances have been for the ball clubs I am not so sure what to now expect !

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The Miami Dolphins are complete mess on both sides of the ball and incumbent starting quarterback Chad Henne now injured has been lost to the team and it would appear for their entire season . Henne’s backup Matt Moore is clearly not the answer as to the organization’s most dire need. Coach Tony Sparano and GM Jeff Ireland now have a decision to make as what is the Dolphins’ best interest as they seek to move forward without a true starting quarterback on the roster. David Garrard as a free agent remains unsigned but the player’s asking price may well be too high . In what now appears to be an act of desperation on the part of the Dolphins’ front office they have signed Sage Rosenfels . The less said on the matter , it is essentially for the better !

Now rooted firmly rooted at the bottom of the AFC East and there seems no apparent signs that things are about to change for the better as the team embark on their schedule . Team owner Stephen Ross might now have to make take a closer look at his coaching staff and the decisions that have been made the coaches. With the influx of draftees and offseason acquisitions the thought that these players would be able to make an immediate contribution has not materialized . As to what now awaits the Miami Dolphins over the remainder of this season remains to be seen.

If there has been a surprise to this season then it must be the fact that the St Louis Rams remain one of the quartet of teams that are winless . Injuries have plagued Steve Spagnuolo’s roster and the fact that incumbent starting quarterback Sam Bradford has suffered what seems to what many thought to be an innocuous injury but it has somehow affected the quarterback’s play and the team’s overall effectiveness.

The NFC West remains a division of where the quality of play can be best described as being anemic . And with Stephen Jackson simply having somewhat of an indifferent start to his season it certainly doesn’t bode well for the fortunes of this team at present.

There’s not much more that can be said about the Minnesota Vikings that hasn’t been said about this team already. Poor play and a coach in Leslie Frazier who appears to be out of his depth and who has a coaching staff that simply brings nothing to the table by way of their coaching acumen. With Christian Ponder about to be thrown into the fray after Donovan McNabb playing so ineptly the time was ripe for Ponder to be given the chance to prove himself to the Vikings’ fans. If the former FSU Seminole can by any measure showcase his college ability then this team certainly will be better off than having McNabb quarterback the ball club. .

Everything about the Minnesota Vikings would suggest that ” the window of opportunity” for the team has been slammed shut and is not about to open again anytime soon. For years the franchise has sought to be relevant during the modern era of the NFL . Now in the midst of this malaise there seems to be no sense being shown by anyone within the organization from the upper echelons of the hierarchy down to the players themselves.

We are all aware as to the issues now facing the Indianapolis Colts and the loss of quarterback Peyton Manning for the forseeable future . Such has been the conjecture and speculation regarding the future of the player that the statements from the front office of the Colts seemingly changes from one moment to the next . Perhaps none more so than the retraction of a “tweeted statement “ made by owner Jim Irsay . Now with the team off to an 0-4 start to their season and the inconsistent play of Kerry Collins and Curtis Painter one wonders how much worse things can now get for the organization . It is not as if the team is in a position to run off four or five consecutive wins and make themselves a contender within their division much less the conference as a whole .

Jim Caldwell and his coaching staff will now have to coax and cajole this team to play with a great deal more aggression than they have been exhibiting . And with the fact that there seems to be no one on the roster who is looking to assume the role of a leader , it leads me to believe that the Colts will be in for a tough time over the course of this season !

With the problems that the Colts now seem to be having at the quarterback position and there not being what one might deem an abundance of talented free agent quarterbacks available it will be interesting to see what maneuvers will be made by GM Bill Polian in conjunction with the team’s head coach in order to remedy the situation .

At the end of the regular season schedule all eyes will be on the postseason and the teams that have garnered the respective berths for the NFL’s season finales. Those left by the wayside in terms of the teams will be looking to the 2012 NFL Draft and the talent available amongst the declarees . With what appears to be an abundance of talent at the quarterback position the consensus will be that Andrew Luck will be the number one overall pick. The Stanford quarterback has had an outstanding collegiate career and it bodes well for any of the teams in question with the desire to make Luck the face of their franchise . Alongside the Stanford player there’s also Denard Robinson , Kellen Moore , Case Keenum , Landry Jones , Brandon Weeden , Robert Griffin III and Nick Foles to name but a few who may well declare for the NFL Draft.

Given the uniqueness of the situation for a number of NFL franchises and their situation it certainly will be interesting to see the choices being made by the respective head coaches and that of general managers when the time comes to make their draft choices . But as of now we will just have to see the season pans out for the teams mentioned within this article .

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What thoughts if any do you have with regard to the immediate future of the four franchises discussed within this piece . Which of the quartet do you believe if possible may well end up taking that number one pick overall ? Furthermore , do you believe that the choice in question has to be a quarterback taken by that prospective team ? Simply a comment as to your thoughts anything else that you believe pertinent with regard to this piece .

Alan aka tophatal ………. https://tophatal.wordpress.com

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(1) SAN DIEGO, CA – OCTOBER 2: the Miami Dolphins the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on October 2, 2011 in San Diego, California. The Chargers won 26-16 . Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images …..

(2) ST. LOUIS, MO – OCTOBER 2: Sam Bradford (8) of the St. Louis Rams playing with a nagging injury passes the ball against the St. Louis Rams at the Edward Jones Dome on October 2, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Redskins beat the Rams 17-10 . Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images …….

(3) Quarterback Donovan McNabb (5) of the Minnesota Vikings reacts after throwing for a touchdown during the game against the Kansas City Chiefs on October 2, 2011 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images ….

(4) Quarterback Donovan McNabb (5) of the Minnesota Vikings is hit by Tyson Jackson (94) and Tamba Hali (91) of the Kansas City Chiefs as he scrambles during the game on October 2, 2011 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images ……

(5) TAMPA, FL – OCTOBER 3: Defensive lineman Michael Bennett (71) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers tackles quarterback Curtis Painter (7) of the Indianapolis Colts October 3, 2011 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images …..

(6) Quarterback Curtis Painter (7) of the Indianapolis Colts throws the ball against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on October 3, 2011 in Tampa, Florida. Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images ……

(7) Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck (12) waves to crowd after Stanford defeated UCLA —- 45-19 in an NCAA college football game in Stanford, Calif., Saturday, Oct. 1, 2011. Luck threw for 227 yards and three touchdowns. AP Photo/Paul Sakuma …. ….

(8) Landry Jones (12) of the Oklahoma Sooners passes against the Florida State Seminoles at Doak Campbell Stadium on September 17, 2011 in Tallahassee, Florida. Oklahoma would go on to defeat FSU 23-13 . Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images ……

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Five Up ……. And Five Who Now Appear To Be On The Way Down ….If Not Out

Five Up ……. And Five Who Now Appear To Be On The Way Down ….If Not Out …….

Well week five of the NFL schedule awaits and we shall see which teams are set to make a move in order to stave off what appears to be a mediocre season . Clearly for the likes of the Indianapolis Colts and Miami Dolphins at 0-4 there now seems to be a real belief that these two teams are in the midst of abyss that neither seem able to retrieve themselves from .

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In large part we all knew that once the decision was made by the Colts’ front office to curtail Peyton Manning’s season this team would be in for a rough time . The four time league MVP winner having yet to fully recover from off season surgery has since been told that he will have to undergo further surgery for nerve damage in his neck . The injuries that have befallen the roster makes the Colts’ chances of even being in with a remote chance of winning the AFC South seem with all the more unlikely . Kerry Collins’ performances have left a great deal to desired and with backup Curtis Painter having been installed as the incumbent quarterback it now seems things will remain with regard to the anemic performances we have seen from the team.

Jim Caldwell and his coaching staff knows that they are in for an arduous season ahead if this team is to have any chance of turning things around . Though there are a number of fans who state it would in the organization’s interest to “tank their season” in order to be the prime contender for the Andrew Luck sweepstakes who’s viewed as the consensus number one overall pick for the 2012 NFL Draft. Should that scenario arise then it would be very interesting to see how team owner Jim Irsay and GM Bill Polian will choose to address the matter. With Peyton Manning having signed a 5 year contract extension that has been widely publicized ___ the player is due a roster bonus of $28 million including incentives due in April 2012 . Chances are Irsay and Polian will have a number of tough decisions to make concerning their Pro Bowl quarterback .

If the Indianapolis Colts’ season is said to be on the verge of going up in smoke then for Tony Sparano and the Miami Dolphins theirs’ is a season that is instantly being flushed down the toilet with such speed that the fecal matter that one could as the team’s performances have already begun to stink up the entire NFL . GM Jeff Ireland and owner Stephen M Ross now have ti gauge not only the performance of their beleaguered head coach but also his staff but the entire roster. Starting quarterback Chad Henne is now injured having left Sunday’s game against the San Diego Chargers . That 26-16 loss mirrored much of the malaise that has become the core of the Miami Dolphins’ numerous problems and seemingly Tony Sparano doesn’t seem to possess any answers for his team’s anemic performances.

Acquiring Reggie Bush as via a free agent acquisition does not seem to have added one iota of real assertiveness to this team and they seek to make their presence felt within the AFC East . Winless and it does not appear that the Miami Dolphins’ fans can continue to endure this madness. Chad Henne has shown that he is simply no more than adequate backup quarterback at best but given what we have seen by a number players at the lower echelons of the quarterback rankings .

The Miami Dolphins’ draftees for the 2011 season seem to be a work in progress and it clearly shows that the coaching staff has a great deal of work on their hands. Vontae Davis perhaps one of the team’s best young players has been one of the omnipresent reasons why this ball club has been so slow out of the gate . But it certainly hasn’t helped also that there does not seem to be anyone that you could simply as a vocal leader on this franchise. Reggie Bush still remains an enigma and a conundrum all rolled into one. With a bye week coming up for the team it will give the injured players on the roster time further to recuperate.

Well the Minnesota Vikings remain a team that you can no longer make excuses for . All this talk about Donovan McNabb looking to prolong his career and at the same time viewed as still being productive . Coach Leslie Frazier in conjunction with his coaching staff have yet to indicate he has this team heading in the right direction. Clearly not , when one considers the travails of this team last season and their subsequent free fall within the NFC North . Even with this 22-17 loss to a listless Kansas City Chiefs’ team I have to wonder what we are now seeing from the large majority of these ball clubs from the inaction caused by the NFL lockout or simply from the fact that the brand of football we have been seeing is unduly bad ! Off-season training amongst the players at a neutral site doesn’t seem to have added anything for a number of franchises and as we know there’s so little that we can gauge from the preseason .

John Fox succeeded Josh McDaniels as the coach of the Denver Broncos but I seriously doubt that he would have thought that this team would be so inept . Analysts were of the opinion that incumbent starting quarterback Kyle Orton gave the franchise the best chance of winning and improving over the course of time. There has been little evidence if any of that to suggest that they are in fact even heading in the right direction. Orton if anything has been abysmal and his backup Tim Tebow considered a work in progress seems to be showing that he is still not ready to be considered an NFL ready quarterback . His game still more suited to his college playing career and certainly cannot matriculate to the NFL in its present form and it is clear that this draft choice made by McDaniels in 2010 could be considered a bust were it not for the fact that beyond Tebow the only alternative left to the coaching staff is to have Brady Quinn be thrown into the lion’s den. That option at present doesn’t seem to be the one which favors the fans or quite possibly the front office of the Broncos led by John Elway .

Clearly what would appear to be less than viable options for Elway are the only ones at his and the coach’s disposal. The franchise now faces a daunting task , do they stick with Orton in the hope he can regain some semblance of consistency or do they make the switch to Quinn or Tebow and see what the players makes of the opportunities given to them ? At this juncture there does not seem to be all that much to lose given the team’s woefully inept start to the season and their on field performances .

At 4-0 the two unbeaten teams this season now seem to stand head and shoulders above the rest of the NFL . The Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions are off to very fast starts and appear to be viable candidates for the the postseason should they continue with their present form. Matthew Stafford as the starting quarterback for the Lions is healthy and playing with a great deal of authority and leadership. But it has been the productivity of the team as a whole that has been impressive but even more so from Calvin Johnson the team’s talented wide receiver. With the defensive prowess being shown by Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley it is now easy to see why this Lions’ squad has been so successful this season under Jim Schwartz and his staff .

As defending Superbowl champions it has been said …..”winning the title is easy defending it is even tougher ” . For the Green Bay Packers they are proving that it is their intention to make a successful defense of that title . Aaron Rodgers seems to have left from where he stood last season and quite possibly can be now held in the same esteem as the elite quarterbacks within the NFL . Certainly his play this season bears this out as he and the team make a mockery of the NFC North and conference .

It is now becoming abundantly clear that all roads to the Superbowl within the NFC will have go through the Green Bay Packers if they continue to maintain their present form . It has become so scary to see how good this team actually is , and that is with due credit to the performances of the Detroit Lions .

The Baltimore Ravens remains an an enigma for me ! Here is a very good regular season team led by a good young quarterback in Joe Flacco . But come the postseason when the franchise happens to be part of that ensemble they just don’t seem capable of proving themselves worthy of that privilege . John Harbaugh either has to get tough with his players or they have to hold themselves accountable . One would have thought that with such seasoned veterans as Ed Reed and Ray Lewis as a part of this roster that would not be a problem . Somehow it does seem that is the biggest obstacle that the team faces and that’s proving their worth as a legitimate contender . With the team’s offseason acquisitions in line with their draft choices of this year things now appear to be looking up for the franchise . Over the course of this season however , we shall see whether or not the Baltimore Ravens can finally be viewed as a perennial contender within the NFL .

Cautiously optimistic perhaps would be the best way to describe the play of the Buffalo Bills at present . At 3-1 within the AFC East the team shares the divisional lead with the New England Patriots . Bills’ coach Chan Gailey has to pleased with the play of his quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and in particular with the defense of the team . But it has been Fitzpatrick whose solid leadership , maturity and play that seems to be a real confidence booster for the Bills , that now seems to have their fans harkening back to the days of the Marve Levy led Bills’ teams that made their way to four consecutive Superbowls ( SBXXV, SBXXVI, SBXXVII & SBXXVIII ) . Are the Buffalo Bills in their present guise capable of even making the postseason much less a Superbowl appearance remains to be seen . Over the course of the season we shall no doubt find out .

If being conceited were a virtue then no other coach in the NFL would be clearly representative of that than Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots . Granted, we all know of his actions during the “Spygate Affair” and the rather lax disciplinary action taken against the coach by the NFL . As an avowed fan of the team I found it utterly reprehensible that the league hierarchy chose not implement a much harsher sentence for the Patriots’ head coach ! His actions were totally dishonest , disadainful and definitely harmful to the image of the league. But there again the very same actions that Belichick was reprimanded, for is still being practiced within the NFL ___ it was simply the fact that he got caught while others have gone unpunished .

Fast forward to today , and this Patriots’ team once again seems to playing up to the usual level we have come to expect from the organization. However, if they do have a flaw and that is the defense has been uneven and often sporadic in its play . I know that the likes of Albert Haynesworth brought in to add stability , depth and leadership for this young unit has yet show its strength in that department . For the coaching staff and in particular the defensive line coaches this will have to be a situation that needs to be addressed urgently if the Patriots are to have a season that has some semblance of normalcy much less success to it . .

Now while the New England Patriots have struggled defensively the offense has been sensational with Tom Brady leading the way for the team in that aspect with his productivity . With the weapons at Brady’s disposal such as Benjarvus Green-Ellis , Wes Welker , Danny Woodhead , Julian Edelman , Rob Gronkowski and Deion Branch it is understandable that the team would always be considered amongst the leading favorites to make it to the postseason.

The New England Patriots find themselves tied atop of the AFC East with the Buffalo Bills with a 3-1 mark within the division. Seated beneath both teams are the New York Jets (2-2) and Miami Dolphins . With Rex Ryan’s Jets off to an inauspicious start to their schedule I seriously doubt that he will allow his team to languish amongst the lower depths of the AFC . He’s (Ryan) far too irascible a character and no doubt will place his foot firmly up the ass of any player he feel that is not carrying their weight , including his young quarterback Mark Sanchez .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have with regard to the points raised within this piece ? And which of the teams mentioned do you believe will have a successful season or quite possibly not live up to perceived expectations ? Simply chime in with a comment as you deem fit .

Alan aka tophatal ………..

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E mail rapptu@gmail.com

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(1) Linebacker Jason Taylor (99) of the Miami Dolphins walks off the field after the game against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on October 2, 2011 in San Diego, California. The Chargers won 26-16 . Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images ……..

(2) Quarterback Chad Henne (7) of the Miami Dolphins throws a pass against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on October 2, 2011 in San Diego, California. The Chargers won 26-16. Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images ……

(3) Aaron Rodgers (12) of the Green Bay Packers pats Von Miller (58) of the Denver Broncos on the chest after a game at Lambeau Field on October 2, 2011 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Photo by Matt Ludtke /Getty Images ….

(4) Kyle Orton (8) of the Denver Broncos is sacked by Desmond Bishop (55) of the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on October 2, 2011 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Broncos 49-23. Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images …….

(5) Joe Flacco (5) of the Baltimore Ravens scrambles against the New York Jets at M&T Bank Stadium on October 2. 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens defeated the Jets 34-17. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images) ……

(6) Sergio Kindle (94) of the Baltimore Ravens rushes Mark Sanchez (6) of the New York Jets at M&T Bank Stadium on October 2. 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens defeated the Jets 34-17 . Photo by Larry French/Getty Images ……

(7) Oakland Raiders fans in the Black Hole cheer on their team during their game against the New England Patriots at Oakland Coliseum on October 2, 2011 in Oakland, California. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images ……

(8) Tom Brady (12) hands off to BenJarvus Green-Ellis (42) of the New England Patriots who ran in for a touchdown against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum on October 2, 2011 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images …..

(9) Wes Welker (83) of the New England Patriots tries to run away from Chimdi Chekwa (35) of the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum on October 2, 2011 in Oakland, California. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images ……

(10) Stevan Ridley (22) of the New England Patriots runs in for a touchdown against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum on October 2, 2011 in Oakland, California. The Patriots would go on to defeat the Raiders 31-19 . Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images ……

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Teams with byes in week 5 : Baltimore Ravens , Cleveland Browns , Dallas Cowboys , Miami Dolphins , St Louis Rams & Washington Redskins

Heap It On ………… Pile It On … You Can’t Beat The Events Of This Sporting Weekend …..

Heap It On ………… Pile It On … You Can’t Beat The Events Of This Sporting Weekend …..

Well after the climactic events of Wednesday that brought to an end an exceptional regular season there’s not much more that can be said . And now the postseason awaits the fans and in particular the MLB hierarchy who could not have asked for anything else in terms of excitement. . As the divisional rounds progeess it will be very interesting to see how those series will be played out. Certainly with the hyperbole created from the last day of the regular season the league hierarchy could not be much happier at present than they now appear to be .

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With College Football now entering its fifth week many of the programs are now seeking to position themselves further up the rankings . With Les Miles and the LSU Tigers now seated atop of the polls it is understandable to understand the reason why the SEC titan is now so highly lauded . Following the Tigers are the Oklahoma Sooners and their respected coach Bob Stoops as their march towards another national title as well as Big Twelve conference title . Inasmuch as I am enthralled by the college football season I can’t help but wonder when the major BCS conferences and their respective commissioners will come around to seriously considering a genuinely productive format to determine a national champion. It has now become completely asinine to hear university presidents and athletic directors bicker like infantile children and it certainly doesn’t help that programs are calling in the moving trucks to change conferences. Personally , I find a complete affront to the fans and public alike to suggest that these moves are merely being done to form somewhat more of a competitive balance. In reality this has more to do with money than anything else . Greed has been the only reason for these maneuvers and will continue to be until otherwise told . God knows , if the NCAA can’t smell the odorous shit that’s now within their midst then NCAA President Mark Emmert is a bigger fool than I could ever have thought !

Courtesy of NCAA.org

‘Cheating will not be tolerated’

Let’s make no mistake: Today’s violations in collegiate athletics are utterly indefensible. They overshadow all that is good in college sports. They cast doubt over the motivations of all involved and give credibility to the cynical view. Worse, they encourage others to cheat. That is why they cannot be tolerated.

These concerns — among others — prompted me to gather a group of Division I college presidents this month to address these problems and resolve them quickly. The result was a strong consensus and a clearly stated agenda for action, an agenda the Division I Board of Directors and I will enact in the coming weeks and months.

First, we agreed student-athletes must be just that, students who are athletes. Winning on the court or field is not enough. College athletes must also perform well in the classroom. The board took an important first step by creating serious academic standards that teams must meet to play in NCAA championships. Higher eligibility standards for college freshmen and junior college transfers are also coming shortly.

Second, we all agreed that the NCAA’s rules need to be simplified with clear emphasis on integrity — weed out unenforceable and irrelevant rules and focus on serious threats.

Next, we are addressing the needs of student-athletes, looking to increase grants to cover the full cost of attendance and providing opportunities for multiyear scholarships and greater support for summer school.

Finally, I am committed — with the full support of our presidents — to hold all those involved in college athletics responsible for following the rules. It is not too onerous a burden to expect participants in college sports to not cheat. For those who do, we must be clear about the consequences.

We are changing our enforcement practices and our penalties to reflect these common-sense values. There must be shared responsibility — among presidents, athletes, administrators, coaches, conferences, agents and boosters alike — that cheating will not be tolerated and the cost of doing so outweighs any benefit. Words, of course, do not mean much; only action counts. We cannot legislate integrity. But we can and will define it, expect it and hold ourselves accountable.

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A formal statement by the NCAA President .

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With the Heisman Trophy ” watch” already going on , unabated , the talk is of Stanford’s quarterback Andrew Luck alongside Marcus Lattimore , Robert Griffin III , Tajh Boyd , Trent Richardson and Denard Robinson to name but a few . From my own perspective , Luck might appear to be a shoo-in for the accolade but I do feel that the title is his to lose but the reality is all it takes is for one of the candidates to have an exceptional season and that could very well sway the voters ! And that decision could very well come down to the season had by the Stanford Cardinals as they seek the Pac 12 title .

The NFL schedule comes around with a great deal at stake for the teams that still remain winless and afoot of their respective divisions . Injuries have played and caused a rather daunting effect for a number of franchises , most notably the Indianapolis Colts who may well have lost Peyton Manning for the entire season . Statistically the players are off to something of a flying start most notably the quarterbacks around the league .

Of the match-ups taking place this Sunday one of the more intriguing games on the schedule is that of the Pittsburgh Steelers taking on the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium in Houston , Texas. Gary Kubiak , his coaching staff know that the time is now for the team and in particular with the Colts having lost their Pro Bowl quarterback Peyton Manning . The 2-1 Texans lead the AFC South with the Tennessee Titans matching the current mark of Kubiak’s team.

With questions being asked as to why we have yet to see Titans’ running back Chris Johnson perform up to the standards of last season where he was one the most productive players at the position within the league . With Johnson’s productivity down this season and newly incumbent quarterback Matt Hasselbeck having lost wide receiver Kenny Britt for the season it remains to be seen how Mike Munchak and his coaching staff will seek to make the offense more productive . With the loss of Britt is incumbent that Chris Johnson be involved with regard to the team’s offense and in particular its running game . If the Tennessee Titans are to have any chance of success as their season unfolds then this will have to be mainstay of their strategy .

There have been so many times when I have wondered whether or not Andre Johnson will ever get the chance to prove himself in the postseason ! God knows, he is one of the most dynamic and productive wide receivers in the league . But for the life of me it simply infuriates to see such a God given talent at times be wasted on this Texans’ team . Either Gary Kubiak is gunshy to get his players playing to the best of their abilities or he simply is not that good an NFL coach . From my own perspective it could well be the latter, as I now firmly believe that the coaching talent at present within the NFL has taken something of a downward spiral .

In light of the New England Patriots’ loss (34-31)to the high flying Buffalo Bills in a game which showed the flaws in the Patriots’ defense . In the last few seasons I do believe that Bill Belichick has become conceited , complacent and this seems to be mirrored in the play of this team . For Tom Brady if he’s to prove that he is simply more than the face of this franchise then he has to step up to the plate at this juncture rather than giving the customary sound bytes that have now become his persona . Clearly the loss to the Buffalo Bills angered a number of Patriots’ fans who are beginning to question the mindset of the coach . But at the same Bill Belichick still has his loyal band of followers .

The Patriots’ coach and his coaching staff in conjunction with GM Nick Caserio and senior consultant Floyd Reese have always been astute judges of talent and it has fared well for the organization over the years . This offseason with their free agent acquisitions as well as the draft choices made it was felt the coach would see an improvement by this team over last season . Clearly that has not been the case with defense ranked near the bottom of the AFC and NFL as a whole . The team acquired Chad Ochocinco and Albert Haynesworth as free agents but these two malcontents could very well prove to be harbinger of things to come should things not work out for both players.

Brady has an abundance of weapons at his disposal but it has been the defense that seems to slip into these bouts of sheer complacency that led to last Sunday’s debacle at the hands of the Buffalo Bills . This Sunday with the New England Patriots taking on what appears to be a confident Oakland Raiders’ team at the Oakland Coliseum /(Alameida County Stadium) in Los Angeles , we shall we see whether or not Tom Brady and his teammates can acquit themselves well enough against a vibrant Raiders’ team . With both organizations having matching records (2-1) albeit that the Raiders sits atop of the AFC West due to the fact that they have a better win streak going for them at present and the due that with the Patriots having lost that divisional game to the Buffalo Bills which leaves them in second place within the AFC East behind the 3-0 Chan Gailey coached team .

This Patriots Raiders’ match-up ought to go a long way in telling us about both teams in particular as to the aspirations of Hu Jackson’s team. And clearly with the division up for grabs and the continued inconsistency of the teams residing there this may well the chance Oakland Raiders seek to truly establish themselves as a resurgent team not only within the division but also the AFC and league as a whole . There are weapons there on this roster to do some real damage if they can continue to play with the confidence that they have been showing on both sides of the ball. And this is clearly what Hu Jackson and his coaching staff have been working towards since he succeeded his predecessor Tom Cable .

I don’t believe that we really need to emphasize what a horrendous season the Indianapolis Colts are now having . At 0-3 the team still seeks their first win and their task doesn’t get any easier knowing that they will be facing a Tampa Bay Buccaneers team whose city is now riding on a wave of euphoria , having seen their local hometown heroes the Tampa Bay Rays make a miraculous comeback to gain the AL wildcard berth by defeating the New York Yankees —- 8-7 to make the MLB postseason . Clearly Raheem Morris knows what is expected of his team when they play the Colts at Raymond James Stadium in the city of Tampa , this Monday night in a nationally televised game .

The Buccaneers with their star quarterback Josh Freeman have made themselves prohibitive front runners within the NFC South at present and there now seems to be a clear indication that the team could well give both the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints a run for their money within the division this season . And though there are those who may well view this as a “trap game” for the Buccaneers I sincerely doubt that they will take their opponents lightly on Monday night . In doing so , it would clearly indicate that the team is not yet ready to be legitimately considered a contender within the NFC .

Morris has sought accountability from his players and Freeman the presumptive leader has reciprocated in kind with his play . But it has to be said that the team has stepped up to the plate and have answered all of the questions asked of them by the coaching staff . Young and hungry there is still the thought of last season when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers missed out on the playoffs by simple factor of not being able to win an eleventh game and thereby denying either the New Orleans Saints or Green Bay Packers for that final wildcard berth within the NFC . It was a bitter pill to swallow for Morris’ team and it has been this disappointment that makes the players want to redeem themselves this season . Whether or not they are capable of doing that remains to be seen but this game should give us all a clear indication as to the ambitions of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a whole .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

In light of the spectacular events that provided a phenomenal ending to regular season for baseball what if anything are you looking forward this weekend in terms of the sporting events taking place ? Granted , there seems to be plethora of scheduled events taking place with the start of the MLB playoffs , college football and week five of their schedule as well as the NFL . Simply chime in with your thoughts as you deem fit .

Alan aka tophatal …….. https://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) ST. PETERSBURG, FL – JULY 15: Manager Terry Francona (47) of the Boston Red Sox scratches his head during the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on July 15, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Terry Francona met with Boston Red Sox management September 30, 2011 and is expected to announce he is leaving as manager . Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ……

(2) Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon ponders a reporter’s question during a baseball news conference for the AL division series, Thursday, Sept. 29, 2011, in Arlington, Texas. The Rays and Texas Rangers are a scheduled play in Game 1 on Friday. AP Photo/LM Otero ….

(3) LSU coach Les Miles confers with quarterback Jarrett Lee (12) in the third quarter of an NCAA college football game against Mississippi State at Davis Wade Stadium, Thursday, Sept. 15, 2011, in Starkville, Miss. LSU won 19-6 . (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis) ……

(4) Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, left, greets university President David Boren before an NCAA college football game against Missouri in Norman, Okla., Saturday, Sept. 24, 2011 . AP Photo/Alonzo Adams ……

(5) NORMAN, OK – SEPTEMBER 24: Running back Roy Finch (22) of the Oklahoma Sooners rushes up field during the first half against the Missouri Tigers on September 24, 2011 at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma. Oklahoma leads Missouri 24-14 at the half. The Sooners would go on to defeat Missouri 38-28 . Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images …..

(6) Quarterback Andrew Luck (12 )of the Stanford Cardinal scrambles to pass during the college football game against the Arizona Wildcats at Arizona Stadium on September 17, 2011 in Tucson, Arizona. The Cardinal defeated the Wildcats 37-10 . The Stanford Cardinals are due to meet the UCLA Bruins at Stanford Stadium on 1st October 2011. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images ……

(7) Andre Johnson (80) of the Houston Texans avoids a tackle by Scott Shanle (58) of the New Orleans Saints at Louisiana Superdome on September 25, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Saints would go on to defeat the Texans 40-33 . Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images ……

(8) NASHVILLE, TN – SEPTEMBER 25: Chris Johnson (28) of the Tennessee Titans runs the ball against the Denver Broncos at LP Field on September 25, 2011 in Nashville, Tennessee. The Titans defeated the Broncos 17 – 14 . Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) ……

(9) New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady gestures as he walks away from the podium after a media availability at the NFL football team’s facility in Foxborough, Mass., Wednesday morning, Sept. 28, 2011. Sunday’s game against the Oakland Raiders matches the NFL’s top passing offense, led by Tom Brady’s 442.3 yards per game, against the No. 1 rushing attack with Darren McFadden, who leads the league with 131 yards per game. AP Photo/Stephan Savoia …….

(10) New England Patriots NFL football team head coach Bill Belichick answer questions from reporters during a news conference, Monday, Sept. 26, 2011, in Foxborough, Mass. The Patriots were defeated by the Buffalo Bills 34-31 on Sunday, Sept. 25th 2011. Photo/Steven Senne ……

(11) Josh Freeman (5) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers walks off the field after beating the Atlanta Falcons at Raymond James Stadium on September 25, 2011 in Tampa, Florida. The Buccaneers defeated the Falcons 16-13 . Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images ……

(12) Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Raheem Morris throws the challenge flag during the third quarter of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2011, in Tampa, Fla. AP Photo/Brian Blanco …..

(13) Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back LeGarrette Blount (27) hurdles teammate Luke Stocker (88) as he cuts through the Atlanta Falcons defense during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2011, in Tampa, Fla. AP Photo/Margaret Bowles ……..

(14) Josh Freeman (5) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers runs with the ball during a game against the Atlanta Falcons at Raymond James Stadium on September 25, 2011 in Tampa, Florida. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images …….
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NB: If only we could take Mark Emmert’s statement on sheer faith instead of the hypocrisy we know it to actually be filled with !

Oops Upside Your Head I Said Oops Upside Your Head !

Oops Upside Your Head I Said Oops Upside Your Head !

Well week one of the NFL season came about with a bang and in some cases something of a whimper given the rather morbid performances of some noted players. Anyone who witnessed the performance of Donovan McNabb in the Minnesota Vikings loss 24-17 to the San Diego Chargers . And though Chargers’ fans may well feel that they can take a great deal out this victory , in truth the team’s performance wasn’t really something to be desired . A seven point win but it was simply the woefully inept performance by Donovan McNabb that surely indicates that the player’s best years are behind him . Anyone who simply felt that McNabb would be the answer to the team’s woes has to be now rethinking that premise .

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From my own perspective , Zygi Wilf and the entire front office of Vikings clearly were sold a “bill of goods” in terms of the McNabb acquisition . As for Minnesota Vikings’ coach Leslie Frazier if he has pinned his hopes on the veteran quarterback leading this team to unprecedented heights then he clearly hasn’t learned anything in the aftermath of the Brett Favre fiasco under his predecessor Brad Childress and then last season with himself at the helm as coach of the team. And with the team’s quarterback Adrian Peterson having signed a multi year multi million contract this looks as if it could be a season of discontent for the Minnesota Vikings . McNabb’s stats from this season opener might just be the most anemic a performance of any quarterback in the league over the past five seasons . 7/15 , for 35 yards 0 TD’s and 0 INT’s and you have to wonder what happens next for the now beleaguered player. .

For those of you out there who are intrigued as to who Leslie Frazier may well choose to step into McNabb’s shoes . If not Joe Webb or Christian Ponder then you might as well say that the Vikings’ goose has been cooked . Without an adept quarterback to lead this team then there’s not a cat in hell’s chance of the Minnesota Vikings having a legitimate chance doing anything meaningful within the NFL this season .

From winning the AFC West last season and then garnering a postseason berth the Kansas City Chiefs had sought to improve on their showing last season . Todd Haley and his coaching staff along with quarterback Matt Cassel were looking to bolster their claims that they could be viewed as a legitimate contender within the AFC . Offseason acquisitions and a draft class thought to be the best amongst the teams within the conference and there might have been every reason to believe the claims made by the staff. Well if you have ever seen an anvil being dropped from a great height then the Chiefs’ 41-7 bludgeoning by the Buffalo Bills . If anything we can all attest to the fact that the Bills might well have been one of the worse performing teams in the NFL last season.

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Matt Ryan (46) of the Atlanta Falcons fumbles the ball against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on September 11, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Falcons 30-12 . Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images ……

In this game the Bills’ quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick had the type of performance that cast him as the second coming of Jim Kelly the Buffalo Bills’ Hall of Fame signal caller . There’s nothing to suggest that this Chiefs’ team possessed anything that was the equal of their conference opponents this past Sunday .

Care to suggest how the Kansas City Chiefs are likely to fare over the course the remainder of the season ? But simply base that thought upon the team’s woefully inept play against the Buffalo Bills . If you believe that the Chiefs are liable to improve then simply say “yes” , if not then obviously you’ll say ” no ” .

Mike Smith as coach of the Atlanta Falcons if he’s improve the goal of this organization . Smith over the past two seasons has seen gradual improvement not only in team’s play but also in the leadership qualities of his quarterback Matt Ryan . The player for his part is seen one of the bright young players at the position within the NFL . The Falcons for their part often regarded as a very good regular season team but come the postseason they simply floundered under the weight of great expectations .

In the Atlanta Falcons’ season opener against the Chicago Bears , wherein we saw an onslaught that the Falcons simply had no answer in a completely lopsided loss that not even most NFL fans would could have envisaged . Jay Cutler and his Bears’ teammates mauled the Atlanta Falcons 30-12 leaving the team in a complete daze. I have to admit that of all the games that took place this past weekend the result that I found to be the most surprising happened to be the lopsided defeat of the Atlanta Falcons .

One could surmise that the entrenched battle . between the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers and the absolute bloodbath in terms of the adversarial demeanor between these two heated NFC North foes had to be seen to be believed . Seven turnovers and a slew of mistakes by Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger amongst others on what is usually well disciplined Steelers’ team coached by Mike Tomlinson .

To suggest that anyone could have foreseen the Baltimore Ravens laying waste to the Pittsburgh Steelers 35-7 would simply be a complete lie . The margin of victory was one thing but for the Steelers to be so thoroughly outplayed had to have come as a complete surprise . Joe Flacco , Ray Rice , Terrell Suggs , Ray Lewis and Anquan Boldin simply had a day at the office that they could all be pleased with . And for Ravens’ coach John Harbaugh this might be just the evidence needed to suggest that gutting of the roster from last season and the subsequent offseason moves that coincided with the draft picks was a vindication for the Ravens’ front office and coaching staff that the decisions made were simply the right ones at the time.

It is pretty much safe to say that the NFC West might just be the least competitive of all the divisions in the NFL . Anyone of the belief who simply belief that a team that wins its division with a sub .500 record should be viewed as a team with a legitimate chance of winning the Superbowl must be either satisfied with that type of mediocrity or they simply view those teams as viable within the NFL .

Each season the more I simply take in the events of the NFC West it is the more I feel that the appropriate action to take would be get a paper bag and simply begin to regurgitate the food I may well have ate earlier ! To describe the football being played within the division as mediocre would be to describe a painting by Van Gogh as average . Simply put , it’s diatribe being served up on a silver platter for the fans’ edification , not that the NFL fans should be subjected to this over the complete NFL regular season schedule by the teams within that division. But that’s ….. c’est la vie !

The Seattle Seahawks’ Pete Carroll is amongst the highest paid NFL coaches in the league earning in excess of $7 million a year . Granted , team owner Paul Allen is amongst the wealthiest individuals on the planet but I’m sure that even he and GM John Schneider could have imagined wherein the team would simply have regressed rather than taking a step forward . I have never really thought Pete Carroll to be a very good NFL coach as his previous tenures has proven that coaching in the NFL isn’t within his wheelhouse . But this where the front office executives and team owners simply become at times too enamored with a college coach who’s said to have attained unprecedented success. Nick Saban and Steve Spurrier should have been a clear indication that ………. all that glitters isn’t clearly gold .

The Seahawks were hosted by the San Francisco 49ers this past weekend and the effort put forth by Pete Carroll’s team can be best described as being anemic and completely devoid of any aggression . Funny how a team who made the playoffs last season can now be looked upon as quite possibly one of the worst performing franchises in the NFL , on both sides of the ball. The Niners came away with the bragging rights in the divisional game clearly laying waste to their opponent 33-17 . With the loss of Matt Hasselbeck to the Tennessee Titans as a free agent somehow the coach felt that former Vikings’ quarterback Tarvaris Jackson could be seen as an adequate successor to the seasoned veteran . Given Jackson’s performance in that game I somehow think that Pete Carroll’s problems have now increased immeasurably ! The coach’s options at the position are not that great beyond Charlie Whitehurst and Josh Portis , so it is hard to view this team as a viable contender within the NFC much less the league as a whole .

It has to be said that there would be no doubt that the Indianapolis Colts would suffer this season with the long term loss of their celebrated quarterback Peyton Manning . You simply knew that this team wouldn’t be the same with his loss. GM Bill Polian and the front office may well have felt that acquiring seasoned veteran Kerry Collins would indeed make a difference but in reality the Colts are not a team that play on par with a nemesis when they simply haven’t got their best offensive weapon at the helm as the signal caller and in truth you cannot expect them to be .

Colts’ head coach Jim Caldwell and the coaching staff may well now have to keep the playbook simple for Collins and the team to have any semblance of success this season . Given the experience and the shock to the system of their season opener I am inclined to believe that the Indianapolis Colts are likely to struggle over the course of this year . The humiliating defeat the Colts suffered at the hands of the Houston Texans was enough to suggest that we might well be seeing the decline of a team who having the lost its leader has now become a rudderless vessel about to be capsized at sea. That 34-7 loss more than suggested how devoid of leadership this team becomes , without Peyton Manning but even more so , when you realize that there was no one willing to step up to the plate and assume the role as a leader . Say what you will , but if they are to fare well this season then someone has to be seen as the new leader on thus team .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

The NFL lockout may well have played its part in the rust we have seen from the teams in their performances in this first regular season scheduled game . But if anything it has to be said the coaches and their staffs had more than enough time to prepare their squads for expectations of what is always expected to be an arduous season . Simply put some of the teams in question may well have performed badly , much of it from their own doing and complete lack of preparation . If nothing else this could well be what we could very well expect over the next few games . But from my perspective these teams on the wrong side of these lopsided losses must have felt that they had been hit upside their heads ! What thoughts if any do you have from this first week of the NFL schedule ? Do you expect to see more of the same or could it be that this was merely a minor blip on the screen for many of the franchises in question ? Simply chime in with a comment as you deem fit .

Alan aka tophatal …….. https://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) SAN DIEGO, CA – SEPTEMBER 11: Donovan McNabb #5 of the Minnesota Vikings in the huddle with his teammates against the San Diego Chargers during their NFL Game on September 11, 2011 at Qualcomm Stadium in San DIego, California. Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images ….

(2) Donovan McNabb (5) of the Minnesota Vikings in action against the San Diego Chargers during their NFL Game on September 11, 2011 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images …….

(3) Adrian Peterson (28) of the Minnesota Vikings is tackled by Donald Butler (56) and Takeo Spikes (51) of the San Diego Chargers during their NFL Game on September 11, 2011 at Qualcomm Stadium in San DIego, California. Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images ……….

(4) Quarterback Matt Cassel (7) of the Kansas City Chiefs reacts after a turnover during the game against the Buffalo Bills at Arrowhead Stadium on September 11, 2011 in Kansas City, Missouri. Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images …….

(5) Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) of the Buffalo Bills in action during the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on September 11, 2011 in Kansas City, Missouri. Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images …..

(6) Matt Ryan (46) of the Atlanta Falcons fumbles the ball against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on September 11, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Falcons 30-12 . Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images ……

(7) John Abraham (55) #55 of the Atlanta Falcons sacks Jay Cutler (6) of the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on September 11, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Falcons 30-12. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images ……

(8) Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) of the Pittsburgh Steelers scrambles while being pressured by defender Arthur Jones (97) of the Baltimore Ravens during second half of the season opener at M&T Bank Stadium on September 11, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images …….

(9) Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll walks the sidelines during their season opener against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park on September 11, 2011 in San Francisco, California. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images …….

(10) Tarvaris Jackson (7) of the Seattle Seahawks drops back to pass against the San Francisco 49ers in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game at Candlestick Park on September 11, 2011 in San Francisco, California. the 49ers won the game 33-17 . Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images ……

(11) Quarterback Kerry Collins (5) of the Indianapolis Colts is blind sighted by linebacker Mario Williams (90) of the Houston Texans on September 11, 2011 at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas. Texans won 34-7 . Photo by Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images …

(12) Head coach Gary Kubiak talks with quarterback Matt Schaub (8) of the Houston Texans during a time out against the Indianapolis Colts on September 11, 2011 at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas. Texans won 34 -7 .(Photo by Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images ……..

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A Simple But Somehow Dangerous Mind …..

A Simple But Somehow Dangerous Mind …..

Perhaps no one should be surprised by this at all but NFL wide receiver Terrell Owens while recuperating from knee surgery has seen fit to proffer up some advice to Philadelphia Eagles’ player DeSean Jackson . The Eagles’ running back is in the midst of a contractual dispute with the organization but he has chosen not to become a holdout but herein lies the caveat with regard to the issue . Owens has stated that he believes the Eagles are demeaning Jackson by not meeting the player’s demands. For Terrell Owens , choosing to intercede in this matter simply stirs up emotions long held by the player who felt he was mistreated by the Philadelphia Eagles. If one recollects , the player had a short tenure with the team that made a Superbowl appearance eventually losing (SBXXXIX) to the New England Patriots in the league’s showcase event.

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Owens has always sought to be the center of attention and it certainly goes without saying even with his eponymous VH1 reality show entitled “The TO Show” . Now sorely missing that center stage and no doubt aggrieved that after last season the Cincinnati Bengals chose not to offer the retain the player for this season . The more Owens offers an opinion on any topic with regard to the NFL , the more of an ingrate he’s thought to be by the fans. And the player himself represented by agent Drew Rosenhaus , who still believes that a roster spot will open up for his client . Somehow , given the gravity of his injury , a torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) in his right and the time needed to recuperate , it remains a remote possibility that Owens would simply be healthy enough to given be available for an NFL team in the need of a productive veteran wide receiver . Owens’ best years are indeed behind him and at this point of his career even though he craves that final bid to obtain that elusive Superbowl ring , one can’t help but feel that his last shot has gone !

From my own perspective I do believe that Terrell Owens simply cannot stand to be left out in the cold , standing on the sidelines watching many of his peers being productive. No longer considered to amongst the elite at the wide receivers in the league , albeit that the hunger is still there does anyone truly now believe that he has anything else left to offer ? It’s now time for Owens to take his show off the road hang up the cleats and perhaps do something else that gets him the attention he craves ! As to what that might be ……… who the hell knows or simply cares ?

Before the NFL season has even started the biggest story of the year has to be the very fact that Indianapolis Colts’ starting quarterback Peyton Manning while recuperating from neck surgery may well have undergo a further operation that could very well put the player out for team’s lineup for at least three months . Hardly the situation envisaged by the coaching staff or front office of the Colts’ organization with the loss of the four time league MVP .

The Indianapolis Colts have signed Kerry Collins to be the team’s starting quarterback and with good reason as neither of presumed backups to Peyton Manning have proven to at all productive during the Colts’ preseason schedule . Curtis Painter if anything, has proven that he’s simply not yet ready for the rigors of the NFL or to be viewed as the heir apparent to Manning.

With the loss of Peyton Manning, this now throws the AFC South wide open as to the aspirations for the teams within that division. Certainly the Jacksonville Jaguars , Houston Texans and Tennessee Titans all now feel that they can vie for supremacy and usurp the Colts as the division’s new champion this upcoming season . A loss of this magnitude for the Indianapolis Colts cannot simply be quantified but if you really want to deem a player’s value to a team then look no further than what Manning has meant to this team since he entered the NFL . His record start of 227 consecutive games apart from being a four time league MVP and the active leader in TD’s thrown (399) and yardage amassed ( 54,828) and you can well understand his value to this organization. For team owner Jim Irsay and GM Bill Polian this has to be gut wrenching for both executives but no more so than what it must now mean to the
beleaguered Colts’ fans.

One could subscribe to the fact that with all the talk of the rookie quarterbacks taken in the NFL Draft there’s bound to be talk what we should expect from these players this upcoming season . We may well get to learn a great deal about the aspiration of Cam Newton , Andy Dalton , Blaine Gabbert , Christian Ponder and Terrelle Pryor as they seek to make a name for themselves in the NFL .

I don’t know about you , but I feel that of all the federal government agencies within President Barack Obama’s administration have shown clear ineptitude but it has been the sheer idiocy shown by the Justice Department overseen by Attorney General Eric Holder that has me perturbed ! His office presented the government’s case against Barry Bonds that over its elongated time-frame swallowed up some $25 million of taxpayers’ money , countless hours of investigative man-hours all to prove that the player committed perjury and was found guilty in the obstruction of justice . Pardon for saying this , but when the government can burn through $25 million like it’s “Monopoly money” it begs the question ……. what type of idiots are there now seated within highest positions of power not just within this administration but also within the Senate and House of Representatives ?

Having been found guilty and then seeking a US Federal Appellate Court ruling to overturn to his verdict which was denied and Barry Bonds now awaits sentencing by the judge who presided over his case. That phase will take place early next year but it is felt that the player may not face any jail time but he could well be placed on probation .

At what point did Roger Clemens’ lawyer Rusty Hardin deem it appropriate for one of his subordinates to confer with the jurors after the player’s trial , that ended with the judge declaring a mistrial ? It has come to our attention that although reasons behind the judge’s decision stemmed from a US Attorney discussing the case with a congress member on camera , we are now finding out that upon that judicial verdict a an defense attorney/ investigator , part of Hardin’s defense team saw fit to question a juror to discern their thoughts on whether or not they thought Clemens guilty of the charges he faced . Amongst the litany of charges faced by the seven time Cy Young winner faced were the obstruction of justice , perjury in lying to a congress member having been sworn under oath to be tell the truth.

The judicial facade of the Clemens’ case has rested upon the player’s staunch belief that he has done nothing wrong . But with the sworn testimony given to the House Oversight Committee by Roger Clemens as well his former teammate Andy Pettite and personal trainer Brian McNamee —— questions still abound as to the player’s veracity and his claims that both McNamee and Pettite have misconstrued his statements. Brian McNamee whose own integrity and character has come into question and his own claims that he supplied his then client as a personal trainer with steroids including HGH as well as numerous prohibitive substances. That asides , this idiotic episode seems to be far from over as countless thousand of dollars of taxpayers’ money will be wasted on a judicial procedure that has made a mockery of the system which has shown the public that ……… justice as we know it , is not equitable for all !

Though I have felt all along had the hierarchy of Major League Baseball (MLB) had the backbone to stand up to the MLBPA (union) we would not be at a point where we still question the integrity of the game itself and the ongoing accomplishments of the players. Instead we’re now having to listen to Commissioner Bud Selig talk about his initiative in seeking divisional realignment and adding to the premise of the playoff system with two extra teams per league for the wildcard berths . At this point , I would like to pose the question to the commissioner at what point will he pull his finger out of his own ass and address the real issues that the game faces in terms of the teams’ financial stability ? Somehow , I don’t believe that Bud Selig or any senior league executive within the MLB head office would be willing to provide us all with the answers we seek .

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Picture gallery for your perusal.

Do you have any thoughts on the points raised within this piece ? By all means do take the time to leave a comment on these and any other that you may well are pertinent to the subject matter . Thanks as always for the continued support as it is greatly appreciated !

Alan aka tophatal ………. https://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) Terrell Owens (81) of the Cincinnati Bengals walks off of the field following the Bengals 23-17 loss to the Indianapolis Colts in the NFL game at Lucas Oil Stadium on November 14, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Colts won 23-17 . Getty Images North America / Andy Lyons …….

(2) DeSean Jackson (10) of the Philadelphia Eagles warms up before playing against the Baltimore Ravens during their pre season game on August 11, 2011 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images …

(3) INDIANAPOLIS, IN – AUGUST 26: Peyton Manning (L) and Kerry Collins #5 of the Indianapolis Colts look on during the first half of an NFL preseason game against the Green Bay Packers at Lucas Oil Stadium on August 26, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images ……

(4) Baseball pitching star Roger Clemens put on his jacket as he arrives at the U.S. District Court, on August 30, 2010 in Washington, DC. Clemens was charged with making false statements, perjury and obstructing Congress when he testified in a February 2008 inquiry by the House Oversight and Government Affairs Committee on his alleged use of performance enhancing drugs. Getty Images / Mark Wilson …..

(5) Baseball pitching star Roger Clemens (R), walks with his attorney Rusty Hardin (L) as he arrives at the U.S. District Court for the start of his perjury trial July 12, 2011 in Washington, DC. Seven-time Cy Young Award winner Clemens is on trial for making false statements, perjury and obstructing Congress when he testified in a February 2008 inquiry by the House Oversight and Government Affairs. The proceedings itself would become null and void after the judge declared a mistrial . Getty Images North America / Mark Wilson …….

(6) Former Major League Baseball pitcher Roger Clemens (4th L) leaves the U.S. District Court after the judge declared a mistrial, on July 14, 2011 in Washington, DC. The judge presiding over Clemens’ perjury trial declared a mistrial over statements introduced to the jury by the prosecutor that were not suppose to be heard. The seven-time Cy Young Award winner was on trial for making false statements, perjury and obstructing Congress when he testified about steroid use during a February 2008 inquiry by the House Oversight and Government Affairs . Getty Images / Mark Wilson ……….
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MLB schedule 3 days at a glance

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Not A Moment Too Soon …… If You’re A Sport’s Fan !

Not A Moment Too Soon …… If You’re A Sport’s Fan !

Well not enough can be said as we have all yearned to see the arrival of the NFL regular season and the beginning of play within the league . Thursday night we get to witness the last two Superbowl champions open the season with the Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints laying the groundwork for the NFL calendar year.. Clearly after the league hierarchy and NFLPA , seemingly now having reached an accord , the fans may well be quite happy to see the resumption of the NFL . Most certainly on 11th September when the season really gets into full swing with a full schedule of games that will also commemorate the the tenth anniversary of the tragic events of the terrorist attacks of “9/11” . That if anything , will be a somber moment not only for the fans but also for the entire nation as well as the NFL as the nation remembers those lost on that most solemn of days .

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Beyond those events which will do doubt be commemorated by MLB , WNBA and NASCAR the country can take pride that it has remained steadfast in its resolve as it seeks to defeat an enemy who sought bring down this nation and all that it stands for.

During this off-season the Green Bay Packers celebrated their victory with gusto and the fans were vibrant in their celebration of the team’s accomplishment. Coach Mike McCarthy and his coaching staff can be commended on a job well done and now comes the hard part in trying to make a successful run as they seek to defend their title. Certainly for Superbowl MVP Aaron Rodgers having erased the memories of his predecessor Brett Favre , the young quarterback now commands the respect of the Packers’ fans as well as his teammates . I certainly believe that the Green Bay Packers alongside the Philadelphia Eagles and New Orleans Saints are amongst the favorites within the NFC who can be legitimately viewed as favorites for the Superbowl. That picture however is liable to change over the course of the season , given the uncertainties that do tend to arise such as injuries to key players and that of the consistency of the teams as schedule progresses.
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In large part the Packers’ core remains intact from last season but the the team has made those perfunctory off season moves as well as taking the best talent available in the NFL Draft . Certainly , for Aaron Rodgers , Greg Jennings , Charles Woodson and Clay Matthews this could well prove to be something fortuitous given the team’s play last season and the consistency shown during the playoffs . If the Green Bay Packers can continue to show that same type of consistency then they could very well make a successful defense of their Superbowl title.

Is it me but there seems to be a degree of hypocrisy within the NFL that is often overlooked ? With Terrelle Pryor being asked to sit out the first games of his professional career within the league with the Oakland Raiders . Initially after his hiring by the Indianapolis Colts as a consultant Jim Tressel’s it appears was initially set . Colts’ GM Bill Polian in particular may well have felt that the hiring would be of benefit to the organization and a way of the former Buckeyes’ coach to seek redemption. But herein lies the caveat to this all, the NFL in conjunction with the NCAA has sought to distance itself from the wrongdoing of an athlete or coach at the collegiate level by instigating a form of punishment . It would appear that upon his hiring Polian felt that Jim Tressel would not only be a welcome hire but also not having to face any form of punishment . Less we forget , when Tressel allegedly left Ohio State there was little if any real form of punishment levied against the coach . An apology from Jim Tressel that was as meaningless and if anything an insult to the fans of the program from a man whose character , integrity and honesty were less forthright. Anyone who’s of the opinion that a $250,000 fine is a harsh enough penalty and somehow having to miss coaching a number of coaching duties clearly is either an idiot or simply doesn’t care as to the acts perpetrated by the former college coach .

With the NFL hierarchy having sought in-house legal counsel , a formal statement has been issued by both the league and from the Colts’ front office stating that Jim Tressel would have to forfeit the first six games of the team’s regular season before he can begin his tenure as a special consultant for the organization. Too harsh or simply not harsh enough ? It is at times like this I have to question not only the priorities of the NFL which seems seem to be intent on creating an image that’s surreal and going to almost any length to making a quick buck at the expense of the fans as needs be ! While I detest the actions of Tressel and that of his players I feel that before we can indict the coach the feeling has to be that the league hierarchy and team owners have to be held to a higher standard. It’s complete idiocy to think that the Indianapolis Colts would consider to hire the coach and then feel that there would not be any form of blowback ! Jim Irsay and Bill Polian are either that naive or they simply just couldn’t give a damn as to what allegations were levied against Jim Tressel. I wonder if they would have been such staunch advocates of the hire had this been anyone else but the former Buckeyes’ coach ? Think about it before giving an answer .

If there is anything that can be said as the baseball season now begins to wind down it has to said that the teams vying for the divisional leads as well as the wildcard berths are simply looking to play themselves into contention with a view to the divisional series and beyond .

It’s pretty much safe to say that both Roy Halladay and Justin Verlander are having extraordinary season’s for their respective teams . And it would be pretty much safe to say that bar the shouting , both the Philadelphia Phillies and Detroit Tigers are well on the way to winning their respective divisions (NL East & AL Central) with a certain amount of ease . The divisional leads that they seemingly command over their closest rivals do appear to be insurmountable and unless both the Phillies and Tigers self implode , then I would find it hard to believe that either the Atlanta Braves or the Cleveland Indians can find a way to topple either of the teams in question !

I don’t know that a manager can take any type of pride in seeing their team be routed by a divisional rival but somehow the Chicago White Sox’s Ozzie Guillen was all smiles as the team were soundly beaten (18-2) and given an ass whupping of the highest order by the Detroit Tigers, who played host to their divisional rivals at Comerica Park , in Detroit , Michigan. Far be it for me to suggest that Guillen can take pride in this performance by his players but I do believe that it sends the wrong message to the fans of the White Sox who witnessed the team put up such a mediocre display against Jim Leyland’s team . And if the rumors are to be believed then this may well be the last season that we may well Ozzie Guillen as manager of the Chicago White Sox , as it is being widely reported that Florida Marlins’ team President David Sansom will be gauging the manager’s interest in succeeding interim coach Jack McKeon . From a personal standpoint having once been a staunch supporter of the team I feel for one that it would be a good hire should the premise actually begin to take shape but until the end of the season we are not going to made aware as to where Guillen’s professional future may well lay .

White Sox GM Kenny Williams as well as team owner Jerry Reinsdorf have yet to issue a public statement on the matter but it is clear that the executives have come to question their manager’s handling of the team over the course of the season . Ozzie Guillen , could never be accused of being shy to show his emotions but it has become increasingly clear that as much as he has the respect of his players , he can at times be viewed as something of an ingrate and condescending towards the game day officials as well the fans. But what cannot be denied is having led the organization to their most recent triumph in the World Series , he has done little to suggest that he’s about to lead them there again anytime soon .

With the Florida Marlins set to move into their new ball-park in 2012 it was felt that an experienced and high profiled manager would be best to lead this young Marlins’ team as they seek to reinvigorate the interest of the fans within the area . It is becoming increasingly clear with average attendance of a meager 16,000 fans currently attending the Marlins’ home games , it has to be said that anything that can be done to peak the interest of the fans must be done quickly and with a great deal of resolve . There has been very little for the Marlins’ fans to be extremely excited about over the course of this season . The team itself has never been in serious contention within the NL East , much less for the wildcard berth within the NL .The team appears to have the talent but there’s little if any real leadership forthcoming from the presumed veterans or for that matter from the coaching staff , themselves . The productivity from the Florida Marlins as a whole can best be described as nonchalant or mediocre !

Having been privileged to witness the highs and lows of the Florida Marlins from their inception to their two World Series triumphs , to the political intrigue associated with team owner Jeffrey Loria and the entire front office somehow beguiling the Miami city commission and Mayor Thomas Regalado . What took place with the city commission somehow having agreed to finance the building of a $450 million state of the art venue for the organization all at the expense of the city of Miami. The stories of the decision and much of deception that has taken place concerning this episode has been well chronicled , as too were the clandestine meetings arranged between Regalado , the Marlins’ ownership and in particular senior members of the MLB hierarchy under the leadership of Commissioner Bud Selig .

If the commissioner can take such a proactive position in aiding the Marlins then how is it that he can be so reluctant to deal with similar issues concerning both the Oakland A’s and Tampa Bay Rays ? Oh, never mind as that would be expecting far too much from the game’s highest ranked official as we have all witnessed his sheer stupidity in the handling of the malfeasance of the Los Angeles Dodgers , the gross negligence of Saul Katz and Fred Wilpon as the owners of the New York Mets . I have come not to expect too much from the game of baseball other than what is actually witnessed on the field of play, because to expect anything else from the league hierarchy by way of leadership would be to expect the current members of both the House of Representatives and Senate to show some form bi-partisanship. That certainly isn’t about to happen at this juncture or at any time in the immediate future ! Simply put , the federal government much like baseball’s hierarchy are completely devoid of any form of intelligence !

So it appears out of the wood-works comes a white knight hoping to rescue from the rubble the beleaguered Los Angeles Dodgers. Dr William Burke co-founder and director of the Los Angeles Marathon leads a consortium that has lodge a formal bid with the US Bankruptcy Courts in Delaware , looking to purchase the organization. What makes this bid all the more interesting is the mere fact that the bidding consortium has the backing of the Chinese government through one of China’s most prominent financial institutions. This would be the first time that an governmental agency should this bid prove to be successful , that such an entity would become a stake holder in a North American professional sports’ franchise.

Certainly with the MLB hierarchy would have give its blessing and final approval on such a deal . Much of this also would be predicated upon Dodgers’ owner Frank McCourt initially agreeing to sell the ball club but this would also be based on the presiding judge overseeing the case would also have approve such a deal as the bankruptcy proceedings have yet to be finalized . At this juncture , given the fact that McCourt has always maintained that it is not his intent to sell the team , this could lead to a long protracted issue regarding the very existence of the Los Angeles Dodgers. It has become even more clear that although McCourt was able to obtain additional financing ($150 million loan from JP Morgan Chase ) to meet the team’s budgetary expenses until the end of the season , beyond that there’s no certainty that the beleaguered owner knows where any additional will actually be coming from .

Beyond the idiocy of this whole debacle it has become abundantly clear for all to see that Bud Selig’s handling of this matter can best be described as a complete sham ! The commissioner and the entire hierarchy have behaved been like bumbling oafs from the silent movie era. The Keystone Cops would certainly be proud of the performances and actions of the hierarchy . Were it not for the gross stupidity of Frank McCourt and the Dodgers’ front office executives perhaps this situation would not have become so grave. At this point it is hard to view how this situation can either get much better or for that matter simply get much worse . Frank McCourt has proven as owner that he has never had the best interests of this team and their financial well being at hand. If anything he and his now ex wife , Jamie McCourt merely viewed this organization as their personal ATM . But yet somehow in the midst of this all Bud Selig has used about as much intelligence to be found in a lump of fecal matter ! .

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What thoughts if any do you have concerning the points raised within this piece ? Simply leave a comment as you deem fit and thanks as always for the continued support as it is greatly appreciated !

Alan aka tophatal ……….. https://tophatal.wordpress.com

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(1) FILE- This Aug. 12, 2011 file photo shows Atlanta Falcons quarterback John Parker Wilson, left, fumbling as he is hit by Miami Dolphins cornerback Jimmy Wilson in the first half of a preseason NFL football game in Atlanta. Even during the longest, hottest, most grueling practice, A Miami Dolphins rookie, Wilson wears a smile from ear hole to ear hole. Wilson’s perspective is a little different from most players because of his peculiar path to the NFL. He spent two years in jail on a murder charge before winning acquittal in July 2009. AP Photo/David Manning …..

(2) GREEN BAY, WI – SEPTEMBER 1: Vic So’oto (97) of the Green Bay Packers runs for a touchdown on an interception during a preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Lambeau Field on September 1, 2011 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images ……

(3) Head coach Mike McCarthy of the Green Bay Packers argues a call with field judge Mike Weir (50) during a preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Lambeau Field on September 1, 2011 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images …….

(4) New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton , left, talks with Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Munchak at an NFL preseason football game at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, Thursday, Sept. 1, 2011. The Titans won 32-9 . AP Photo/Bill Haber ….

(5) New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton, left, and quarterback Drew Brees (9) watch from the sidelines in the third quarter of a preseason NFL football game against the Oakland Raiders in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Aug. 28, 2011. AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez ……

(6) FILE: In this Oct. 23, 2010 file photo, Ohio State coach Jim Tressel looks on during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Purdue in Columbus, Ohio. Tressel was hired Friday, Sept. 2, 2011, by the Indianapolis Colts as a game-day consultant to help determine when the team should challenge plays. However in light of the hiring the NFL has imposed a six game ban upon the former Buckeyes’ coach that forbids Tressel from joining the Colts’ staff in his capacity as a gameday consultant . Personally my question for the Colts’ front office , is it there wish to reward the coach for his infamy while at Ohio State when one bears in mind his actions there prior to his leaving the program ? Photo/Tony Dejak ….

(7) Colts’ GM Bill Polian (left) is seen here with team owner Jim Irsay along the sidelines during a Indianapolis Colts’ game. Polian is said to be the primary protagonist behind Tressel’s hiring having been in consultation with the franchise owner . Indianapolis Star /Sam Riche …..

(8) Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen (13) spits some sunflower seeds as he watches the action from the dugout during the game against the Detroit Tigers, after the Tigers scored 16 runs on 22 hits in the first sixth innings of the game at Comerica Park on September 4, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. The Tigers defeted the White Sox 18-2 . Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images…

(9) Miguel Cabrera (24) of the Detroit Tigers looks to Andy Dirks (12) after hitting a two-run home run to center-field in the sixth inning during the game against the Chicago White Sox at Comerica Park on September 4, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. The Tigers defeated the White Sox 18-2 . Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images ….

(10) (L-R) Florida Marlins team President David Samsom, now former City of Miami Mayor Manny Diaz , MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, Florida Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria and Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Alvarez attend the groundbreaking ceremony for the Florida Marlins baseball team’s new stadium on July 18, 2009 in Miami, Florida. The park is scheduled to open in 2012 and the team intends to change its name to the Miami Marlins prior to the completion of the ballpark. Marc Serota/Getty Images North America ……

(11) City of Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado (R) listens as police Chief Miguel A. Exposito speaks during a press conference to announce “Operation Take Back Our Streets”‘ on August 10, 2010 in Miami, Florida. The Miami Police Department launched the operation in response to recent shootings in the Model City and Little Haiti communities of Miami. The city has seen a number of shootings recently using high powered assault weapons. Esposito has recently been suspended by the City Manager Johnny Martinez on the recommendation of the city commission . Joe Raedle / Getty Images …….

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Pick Your Poison …… With Manning ….. Without Manning ?

Pick Your Poison …… With Manning ….. Without Manning ?

It seems strange that the Indianapolis Colts could go into the preseason without their four time winning league MVP and Superbowl winning player Peyton Manning . The player having had off-season neck surgery is now committed to a full recovery in time to make the regular season for the Colts’ roster . With the team having Austin Collie now their injury list along with Manning the trials and travails of coach Jim Caldwell and his coaching staff could come undone before it has even started .

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Clearly the Indianapolis Colts’ fans would like nothing better than to see Manning taking the first snap of the regular season rather than Curtis Painter , Mike Hartline , or Dan Orlovsky for that matter . I am not so sure that the Colts’ front office led by Bill Polian has really thought ahead about the day ahead when Peyton Manning is no longer available to this organization . And given the success that the that the Colts have had over the years with Manning at the helm of this team , it has to be said that the loss would be seen as seismic to say the very least . Over the course of his outstanding career Peyton Manning has led this organization with class and distinction and there is not a doubt in anyone’s mind that once his career has come to an end he will be Canton bound to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame .

This organization during the off-season made some moves to bolster the roster as well making the customary draft choices one would deem to be prudent . It certainly gives the fans the impression that the organization is once again set to be dominant not just within the AFC South but also the conference as a whole . Certainly there’s a lot to suggest the Colts are once again the team to beat within the division as I simply don not believe that either Houston Texans , Jacksonville Jaguars or Tennessee Titans will be a match for this organization over the course of this season . The indications are were that the Texans were making great strides but that simply wasn’t borne out over the course of the 2010 regular season as they simply petered out when it mattered most . For the Houston Texans’ Gary Kubiak this may well be his last chance to prove himself worthy as the coach of this team .

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INDIANAPOLIS, IN – AUGUST 19: Mike Hartline (9), Dan Orlovsky (6) and Curtis Painter (7) of the Indianapolis Colts look at play sheets during the game against the Washington Redskins at Lucas Oil Stadium on August 19, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images ………

In the preseason for the Indianapolis Colts we have seen the frailties of this team without Manning at the helm quarter-backing the team . And it could very well be that if the player hasn’t fully recovered enough in time for their regular season opener against the Houston Texans on September 11th we could see Manning’s longevity in terms of consecutive games’ record will come to an end . From my own perspective I feel that the player will have recuperated enough to don his number 18 jersey and be his customary and efficient self ! There are few players amongst the elite within the NFL who perform with the prowess of Manning at the quarterback position .

I certainly do believe that the Indianapolis Colts will very much have the AFC South to themselves and that is in spite of the offseason moves made by the teams within the division . What may well detract from the possibility of the team repeating as divisional champions could very well be the health of Manning and his ability to last through the rigors of a regular season .

The rookies drafted by the staff will almost certainly be looking to have a productive season having had their initial baptism of fire in the preseason games . Anthony Castonzo, Ben Ijalana , Drake Nevis , Delone Carter and Chris Rucker are sure to prove that the faith shown in them by Jim Caldwell and his coaching staff is justified .

If anything however , it will be imperative for the seasoned veterans on this roster to lead by example should Peyton Manning not be available to them for the first couple of games of the regular season . That has to be the caveat here with regard to the fortunes of this team and how they could very well fare over the course of this year . Certainly last season we saw what the team was capable of in terms of adversity when they were faced with the possibility of failing to make the postseason . The fact that they were able to do so having fought tooth and nail to win the division (AFC South) in spite of the injuries and other obstacles showed the true mettle of this team .

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Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne, left, and running back Joseph Addai talk during the NFL team’s football training camp in Anderson, Ind., Saturday, Aug. 6, 2011. AP Photo/Michael Conroy ………

Amongst the seasoned veterans that I believe will step up to the plate for this team are Reggie Wayne , Dallas Clarke , Joseph Addai , Dwight Freeney , Gary Brackett and Robert Mathis . But in reality the Indianapolis Colts’ way has been there to be a collective effort from all the members of this team. Most certainly that was something instilled into them by Jim Caldwell’s predecessor Tony Dungy , a coach who simply communicated with his players and made them fully aware as to what was expected from each, on game day .

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By your own estimation do you feel that Peyton Manning could miss the first two or three games of the regular season given his ongoing health concerns ? It hasn’t been confirmed that he will miss the entire preseason but all estimations that seems the likelihood with neither Caldwell , Bill Polian or for that matter Jim Irsay will to make an emphatic statement on the matter . How do you see the Indianapolis Colts faring over the course of the regular season ? And do you feel that without their league MVP quarterback their chances to win the division will be less likely ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts on this subject matter and any other thoughts you believe to pertinent . Thanks as always for the continued support as it is greatly appreciated !

Alan aka tophatal ………. https://tophatal.wordpress.com

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(1) FILE – This July 31, 2011, file photo shows Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning speaking during a news conference with the NFL football team’s owner Jim Irsay, right front, at the teams training camp, in Anderson, Ind. Manning says he won’t play the last two preseason games and Colts owner Jim Irsay says his team must be prepared to open the season without Manning behind center. AP Photo/Alan Petersime …..

(2) Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan, left, talks with Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning following an NFL preseason football game in Indianapolis, on Friday, Aug. 19, 2011. Washington won 16-3 . AP Photo/Michael Conroy …….

(3) Indianapolis Colts head coach Jim Caldwell, right, greets Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan following an NFL preseason football game in Indianapolis, on Friday, Aug. 19, 2011. Washington won 16-3. AP Photo/Michael Conroy ……..

(4) INDIANAPOLIS, IN – AUGUST 19: Mike Hartline (9), Dan Orlovsky (6) and Curtis Painter (7) of the Indianapolis Colts look at play sheets during the game against the Washington Redskins at Lucas Oil Stadium on August 19, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images ………

(5) Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne, left, and running back Joseph Addai talk during the NFL team’s football training camp in Anderson, Ind., Saturday, Aug. 6, 2011. AP Photo/Michael Conroy ………

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Out Of The Chaos Now Comes The Bedlam ……… And A Great Deal More

Out Of The Chaos Now Comes The Bedlam ………. And A Great Deal More

So out of the chaos even more bedlam will be created as the NFL seemingly returns to work. The NFL team owners of have voted with a majority decision to approve the new collective bargaining agreement (CBA ) which will by all accounts if we’re led to believe there will be peace for the next decade between the league hierarchy and the new soon be re-certified NLFPA . That being said in the midst of the vote there just happened to be one abstention in the voting by the team owners. Suffice to say with those very same owners glad handing and patting themselves on the back but it remains to be seen whether or not the player representatives and their members will vote to ratify the agreement from their end.

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Team facilities will now be open for the players to conduct training activities , meet with the coaches and their respective staff members to discuss their own fitness level and no doubt other issues that should arise . To my mind now comes the hard part not only for the teams but also general managers because there will now be a plethora of free agents that will come to the market . Imagine if you will an abundance players and the very fact that the coaches and the GM’s will now act like kids in a candy store looking to pick out the best out of a selective assortment of edible confectionery . I am not so sure that the carnage that will no doubt take place because of this whole scenario is exactly what the league would like to see ! But such has been the idiocy shown by both sides throughout this whole episode that as a fan you can have absolutely no sympathy for either side . And as much as this now appears to be all over bar the shouting the one thing I find somewhat suspicious has been the league’s wish to have the details sealed as to the $1 billion set aside to aid the retired veterans of the NFL. Somehow all of the hard work of Carl Eller could well be for nothing even in light of the fact that he has been part to some of the deliberations that have taken place between the two sides . My question is if the league is now open to such transparency then why the facade with regard to the agreement as it relates to the veterans ? What have they to hide and what is it that they simply don’t want the public to know ?

And though Roger Goodell and his chief aide Jeff Pash will try and sell this all as the best deal possible and the owners such as Jerry Jones , Jerry Richardson and Jim Irsay have to be entirely happy with this all . I can’t help but wonder if say five or six years down the road their might well be disruptive to the peace . It is not out of the realms of possibility even if this is meant to be a ten year deal. Wars have been have been fought over less and it only takes one skirmish and disquiet to the accord and the ramifications could be once felt again _ litigation ensuing or not there is now a lot hanging on this agreement being a long lasting one over the next decade.

For coaches such as Marvin Lewis , .Tom Coughlan , Jon Fox , Gary Kubiak and Chan Gailey it will be very interesting what they seek to do to improve their teams during this period of free agency . There’s a great deal that the league has made public about the agreement and one of the most salient points seems to be the salary cap which we are informed will be in the area of $120 million for the 2011-12 season. A sizable figure to say the least and one that will not be lost the teams or the players for that matter . But I am sure that agents such as Drew Rosenhaus , Tom Condon , Eugene Parker and Mark Bartelstein to name but a few will be amongst a throng of movers and shakers chomping at the bit to get their clients signed to a lucrative deal. It’s now open season and the NFL teams are the prey in question .

If this off-season is anything to actually go by then the upcoming regular season itself and what will now be a shortened preseason will become a comedy of errors. There is no way in hell that teams will be game ready when the season commences on the 8th September as I feel that in large part that the vast majority of the teams won’t be anywhere near where they need to be in terms of preparation . And that is even with many of the players meeting amongst themselves and carrying out their conditioning and training regimen . What may well be a season of redemption in the eyes of the league could very well turn out to be initially one monstrous eyesore for the fans who choose to attend the first two or three games of the schedule .

For certain finesse teams such as the Indianapolis Colts , New England Patriots and New Orleans Saints where timing is certainly everything ____ I do believe that Peyton Manning , Tom Brady and Drew Brees may well struggle initially with finding their receivers so we could well see a great deal more of a ground attack with the running backs bearing the brunt of their teams’ burden .

Inasmuch as this whole spectacle has all been put to rest with the both now sides seemingly back on the same page I can’t help but wonder what might have happened had the league hierarchy , team owners and the NFLPA been more cordial with one another during their deliberations. Instead it all came down to each trying side trying to outdo each other with Judge Arthur J Boylan having to sit in the midst of this all cajoling and scolding the individuals like prepubescent schoolboys to merely sit down and break bread together . So much of this could have been avoided had calmer and cooler heads prevailed in the first place . But then again we are discussing the NFL are we not ? You could not ask these idiots to show common sense unless their very lives depended on it !

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As a fan of the NFL are you happy that the stoppage is now over ? And how do you see the season unfolding ? Simply chime in with your thoughts as you deem fit .

Alan aka tophatal …… https://tophatal.wordpress.com

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(1) NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announces that NFL owners have agreed to a tentative agreement that would end the lockout, pending player approval, on Thursday, July 21, 2011, in College Park, Ga. Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson looks on in the background. AP Photo/John Bazemore ….

(2) Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney speaks during a news conference where it was announced that NFL owners have agreed to a tentative agreement that would end the lockout, pending player approval, in College Park, Ga., on Thursday, July 21, 2011. In the background is Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson. AP Photo/John Bazemore …..

(3) NFL general counsel Jeff Pash listens to a reporter’s question during a news conference where it was announced that NFL owners have agreed to a tentative agreement that would end the lockout, pending player approval, in College Park, Ga., on Thursday, July 21, 2011. AP Photo/John Bazemore …….

(4) Agent Tom Condon (center), counts Eli Manning , left, and Colts’ quarterback Peyton Manning ,right , amongst his NFL clients . Getty Images / Chris Trotman …….

(5) Chan Gailey, head coach of the Buffalo Bills readies to to call a timeout against the Cleveland Browns at Ralph Wilson Stadium on December 12, 2010 in Orchard Park, New York. Getty Images / Rick Stewart ……..

(6) Quarterback Drew Brees (9) of the New Orleans Saints warms-up before taking on the Seattle Seahawks during the 2011 NFC wild-card playoff game at Qwest Field on January 8, 2011 in Seattle, Washington. Getty Images North America / Johnathan Ferrey …….

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NFL Season At A Glance ……………….

NFL Season At A Glance ……………….

The NFL —– season has been one of surprises and a great deal of disappointment and if anything the off the field stories have been just as suspenseful as the intrigue on the field. Brett Favre’s downward spiral into mediocrity has been one big hoop-lah after the other. And it would appear that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell would rather suborn the player’s behavior and hide behind the fact that quite possibly Favre’s imminent retirement will circumvent him having to suspend the player if his verdict is in fact a positive one that finds the player guilty any wrongdoing in his alleged sexual misconduct concerning a former New York Jets’ employee.

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Slide show for your perusal

On the field we’ve seen the fall from grace of the Minnesota Vikings and Dallas Cowboys the presumptive favorites to make it to this season’s NFC championship game. And as much as I’d like to say that it all came as a surprise to me but in reality nothing pleased me more than seeing both of these over hyped and underachieving teams fall like a lead balloon. Foolhardy management, inadequate coaching and players who simply were complacent essentially played a part in the soap opera that has encapsulated both teams’ season. For owners Jerry Jones and Zygi Wilf they’ve seen their year fall apart and that of any ambition they had professionally as well as from a financial standpoint. In Wilf’s case it was also the prospect of having the upper hand in terms of persuading the state legislature in their upcoming vote for a new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings. Jerry Jones’ ambition of not only hosting the Superbowl as the NFC representative has been shot to hell .

Coaching changes are abound with two firings have taken place Wade Philips , Brad Childress and it’s clear that with the Cincinnati Bengals —– Marvin Lewis choosing not to return to the team next season we may well be in for a slew of coaching upheavals with there being speculation as to whether or not the likes of Jon Gruden , Bill Cowher and Tony Dungy will be making a return to the NFL. They are viewed as the top three desirable coaching free agents on the market and it’d be asinine to think that a number of teams around the NFL won’t offer the trio an interview for any vacancy that may well arise.

Now while a number of teams are now in the mix for a playoff spot as well as those divisional titles that have yet to be settled . It goes without saying that for those teams who could end up playing spoiler and put an end of those postseason desirables. In the AFC West where I’ve always maintained that the football being played there borders on being mediocre, I’m still at a loss to understand the explanation and excitement that’s foisted upon the San Diego Chargers because they go on late regular season run as they strive to make the playoffs. For me if you simply can’t be consistent throughout the season then it simply doesn’t augur well for any ambition that they might have as the month of December and January approaches . As it is Norv Turner’s —- team is now in the fight of their life just to win their division and perhaps gain a postseason berth in the playoffs as a wild-card entrant. The division is now simply the Kansas City Chiefs to lose and as I alluded to earlier with the ineptitude being shown as to the form within the division just about anything can happen and actually has happened during the course of the season.

The NFC West has been no different as there we could well see a division winner with a sub .500 record make the playoffs. Clearly there are many fans in general, as well several team executives who feel that this is something that shows why many feel that they’re ought to be a change in the playoff format as it relates to the postseason seedings. But with there being no outwardly directly calls vocally as of yet other than the murmured rumblings for the moment the format is unlikely to change.

Steve Spagnuolo’s —- St Louis Rams appear to be in the driver’s seat with regard to the NFC West and their game against the San Francisco 49ers being a titanic matchup of two teams looking to make their bid. Guided by Sam Bradford , the Rams could be the surprise team of the playoffs as no one could’ve foreseen the strides taken not only by the team but also by Bradford in his rookie season . In terms of the 49ers this has been something of a tumultuous season as from one moment to the next Mike Singletary seems to have lost control of this team . And it would appear that he can’t make up his mind as which quarterback is his best option to lead this team. Alex Smith still remains an enigma despite his five years in the league and with Troy Smith this season has simply seen him placed into his cauldron for his baptism of fire with the 49ers .

The AFC and for all of the drama that has taken place there it seems that Bill Belichick has the New England Patriots riding high and Tom Brady would appear to be now the odds on favorite this season for league MVP. Brady’s year has been an exceptional one with this high scoring offense and a plethora of offensive weapons . But if there’s a cause for concern then it has to be this young defense that has been somewhat inconsistent but then at times they give you a snap as to what they might be potentially by showing their athleticism .

The AFC South now seems to be up for grabs and it appears that the Jacksonville Jaguars may well have played themselves out of contention for the division. A week ago you’d have been hard pressed to have bet against the Jaguars but it now appears that Jim Caldwell and the Indianapolis Colts led by Peyton Manning are is in a fight to make this division theirs once again. The Houston Texans who came out of the starting gates like a stallion seems to have fallen off the track and it now looks as if Gary Kubiak’s tenure as the team’s coach could very well be coming to an abrupt end. With that type of high powered offense it’s easy to see the appetite that the analysts may well have had for the team . But offense alone simply doesn’t win games the Texans’ defense this season has been as porous as a sponge giving up points like a child gives up his or her lunch money having been bullied by an elder child. Let’s just say that the Texans have been extremely philanthropic when it comes to losing.

The Jacksonville Jaguars should they fall at this obstacle it’s hard to see how these players and in particular Jack Del Rio can look the the fans in the eye and state they tried their best. Their best has never and was never good enough , enough it was marginally above average , if that at all !

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Picture gallery for your perusal

Now while many have made the comment that the Cleveland Browns have finally began to show some signs of life playing with a great deal of bravura it has to be said their divisional rivals the Cincinnati Bengals have been an immense disappointment . And despite the outward looking optimism shown by some team members Chad Ochocinco and Carson Palmer have shown little to suggest that they have what it takes to lead this team. The only positive to come out of this all may well have been the play of Terrell Owens who seems to have had a year that shows that he’s got a great deal to play for. Beyond that trying to salvage anything from this mess would be like shoveling manure and then suggesting that some real use can be made of it when you know that the flowers in a garden that have already blossomed.

As to what the remainder of the season portends for the NFL and these teams it remains to be seen what will transpire. But this much is certain with all of the drama that has taken place both on and off the field we do still have the intensity and the thrill of the postseason yet to avail itself to us. Make of it what you will . What thoughts if any do you have as to what you’ve witnessed this season within the NFL and what thoughts if any do you have with regard to the playoffs ?

Alan aka tophatal ………………………………..

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Laura-XXL Magazine

Eye candy …………….. Laura looking chivalrous, something to get your appetite up and running.

All Good Things Must Come To An End ……. So Did Superbowl SBXLIV ……………

All Good Things Must Come To An End ……. So Did Superbowl SBXLIV ……………

So it came and went , what was the NFL’s showcase event …. Superbowl 44 (SBXLIV). The two representatives of the AFC and NFC put on a thoroughly energetic display of all-out attacking football. And at times the Indianapolis Colts showed that their defense was more than capable of stopping the New Orleans Saints’ ‘prolific offense’. But when it was all said and done , the Boys of ‘The Louisiana Bayou’ would end up prevailing in an exhilarating and well earned 31-17 victory over the Indianapolis Colts.

<strong>Superbowl  (SBXLIV)  MVP  Drew Brees </strong> raises  the  Lombardi  Trophy  aloft   after  his   team's victory  over  the   Indianapolis  Colts <strong> 31-17 </strong>  in  the  game  played   at  Sun  Life  Stadium  ,  Miami,  Florida.   This  was  the  Saints'  first  victory  in  the  Superbowl in  their  enrtire  43  year  existence.     photo  appears  courtesy  of   Getty  Images  /   Chad   Restins..................
Superbowl (SBXLIV) MVP Drew Brees raises the Lombardi Trophy aloft after his team's victory over the Indianapolis Colts 31-17 in the game played at Sun Life Stadium , Miami, Florida. This was the Saints' first victory in the Superbowl in their enrtire 43 year existence. photo appears courtesy of Getty Images / Chad Restins..................

Sun Life Stadium , Miami, played host to the event and its ensemble spectacle. The half time showed had veteran rockers ‘The Who’ perform many of their hits, the show of which was somewhat uninspired , to say the very least. But then again the demographics that the NFL tends to appeal to doesn’t always resonate with the masses at large . The preponderance of young kids watching may only know some of themes being sang as that to the various CBS hit shows from the ‘CSI’ (trilogy) dramas on the station, hosting the Superbowl itself. Good cross product tie in by the network , even if it was somewhat uninspired to begin with.

New Orleans - February 7th, 2010. Celebrating New Orleans Saints fans spill out into the streets outside of LeBon Temps Roule uptown neighborhood bar just minutes after the New Orleans Saints won a Super Bowl XLIV victory  in New Orleans, Louisiana. photo appears  courtesy  of  <strong>Getty  Images </strong>/  Skip Bolen  ......
New Orleans - February 7th, 2010. Celebrating New Orleans Saints fans spill out into the streets outside of LeBon Temps Roule uptown neighborhood bar just minutes after the New Orleans Saints won a Super Bowl XLIV victory in New Orleans, Louisiana. photo appears courtesy of Getty Images / Skip Bolen ......

Courtesy of NFL.com and Associated Press

Brees answers ‘Who dat?’ with Super Bowl MVP performance

Miami Gardens, Fla. — Drew Brees grew up in Texas and started playing for pay in faraway San Diego. But he made New Orleans his home and its cause uniquely his own.

After 43 years of Saints futility and one of the finest quarterbacking performances ever delivered in a Super Bowl, Brees made sure there’s no need to ask “Who dat?” anymore.

Thanks to Brees, the answer to “Who dat say they gonna beat them Saints?” is nobody.

“We just believed in ourselves, and we knew that we had an entire city and maybe an entire country behind us,” Brees said Sunday after being voted MVP in New Orleans’ 31-17 victory over the Indianapolis Colts. “What can I say? I tried to imagine what this moment would be like for a long time, and it’s better than expected.”

“I’m just feeling like it was all meant to be. What can I say? The birth of my son, and in the first year of his life, we won a Super Bowl championship.”

The people of New Orleans now will embrace Brees tighter than some of their kinfolk. It didn’t hurt, of course, that when Brees arrived in 2006, both he and the city were at a crossroad.

A torn labrum in his throwing shoulder in the final game of the 2005 season, coupled with young Chargers passer Philip Rivers waiting in the wings, made Brees expendable in San Diego and left him wondering whether his career already was on the downside. When Saints coach Sean Payton drove Brees around New Orleans hoping to sell him on joining the Saints, the quarterback realized, seeing residents struggling to cope with the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina, that he’d found the perfect place to begin his own comeback.

“Four years ago, who ever thought this would happen?” Brees said, still fighting back tears.

Earlier, as confetti swirled just above the playing surface at Sun Life Stadium, Brees’ eyes already were watering, trying not to cry as he held his son, Baylen, who was wearing a Saints jersey with his father’s name on the back and a headset so the loud celebration wouldn’t scare him. Brees struggled yet one more time to keep his emotions in check as he lifted the silver Lombardi Trophy over his head.

But a few minutes into his post-game interview, Brees simply quit trying.

“Eighty-five percent of the city was under water, all the residents evacuated all over the country, people never knowing if they were coming back or if New Orleans would come back,” he said. “But not only the city came back, and the team came back … when the players got there, we all looked at one another and said, ‘We’re going to rebuild together.’

“We leaned on each other,” Brees said, pausing as he choked up. “This is the culmination of that.”

Yet in the same way that New Orleans’ progress has come in fits and starts, so it was with the Saints in Super Bowl XLIV. After a rocky first quarter, Brees found his rhythm midway through the second quarter and finished with a record-tying 32 completions in 39 attempts for 288 yards and two touchdowns. He was never finer than during what turned out to be the go-ahead scoring drive, stringing together seven straight completions — to seven different receivers.

“Phenomenal,” Saints wide receiver Marques Colston said. “You really can’t put that kind of performance in words. To have 32 completions and two drops, he deserves the MVP.

“Hopefully,” he added, “you guys (in the media) can start putting Drew in that elite quarterback conversation.”

Consider it a done deal.

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The Indianapolis Colts fights for a loose ball against the New Orleans Saints after an onside kick to start the second half during Super Bowl XLIV on February 7, 2010 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. photo  appears  courtesy  of  <strong>Getty Images/ </strong>  Doug Benc .....
The Indianapolis Colts fights for a loose ball against the New Orleans Saints after an onside kick to start the second half during Super Bowl XLIV on February 7, 2010 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. photo appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Doug Benc .....

The game pitted two of the better quarterbacks in the NFL to have started a Superbowl in recent years and it was expected to be something of a chess match between these two celebrated stars of the league in, Peyton Manning of the Indianapolis Colts and Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints. And the two most certainly did not disappoint with their play. If anything they served to show they have two of the most prolific and accurate passers in the NFL, in recent years.
And for the respective coaches in, Jim Caldwell and Sean Payton , this was an experience to soak up and remember for years to come. They may well use it as anecdote to tell their children and grandchildren for years to come, into the future.

<strong> Garrett Hartley (#5) </strong> of the New Orleans Saints kicks a field goal as <strong> Mark Brunell (#11)</strong> holds against the Indianapolis Colts during Super Bowl XLIV on February 7, 2010 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.  photo appears courtesy  of  <strong> Getty Images</strong>/  Ezra   Shaw ..........
Garrett Hartley (#5) of the New Orleans Saints kicks a field goal as Mark Brunell (#11) holds against the Indianapolis Colts during Super Bowl XLIV on February 7, 2010 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. photo appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Ezra Shaw ..........

Initially it was the Colts who got off to a fast start and they harried and rushed the Saints and their offensive line. But once the Saints steadied themselves , the game took on something more of a competitive edge about it all aspects. It was never going to be blowout for either side but at the same you got the inclination that whoever made the least amount of mistakes would end up prevailing in the game. And when it was all said and done , that was inevitably became the case. And for residents and citizens of New Orleans this may well have felt like vindication and redemption for all that the city has been through over the past few years. At the height of its troubles , they well have felt that the world had left them behind and had forgotten about them. But that was never really the case . As it all came down to the haphazard way that the local , state and federal government agencies dealt with a natural disaster that was unimaginable and inconceivable to comprehend in the magnitude of the destruction caused and the psychological aftermath of the toll that it left on the city’s citizens , young and old. Never mind the lives that were lost in the tragic disaster that was ‘Hurricane Katrina’ . This victory by the Saints may well provide some and be part of the healing process in the end , as the city looks to pick up the pieces and rebuild.


For the moment , whatever the future hold for the Saints and its owner, Tom Benson remains to be seen. But somehow , I for one don’t believe that the masses and the fans of the NFL will begrudge the team , the organization or for that matter , the citizens of New Orleans their moment to shine and to be proud of the achievements of their team. Kudos to the New Orleans Saints on a well deserved victory !

tophatal

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Kellita Smith, actress and former model. Smith is more widely known for playing the wife of the late comedian Bernie Mac , on the Fox comedy hit ‘ The Bernie Mac Show’.